New $10 bill unveiled, featuring civil rights icon Viola Desmond

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Canada unveiled a new $10 bill Thursday featuring black civil rights activist Viola Desmond, who replaces first Canadian prime minister and the father of Confederation Sir John A. MacDonald.

The purple polymer bill is the first vertically oriented bank note issued in Canada.

Desmond is the first African-American woman and the second woman in Canadian history to be placed on a currency.

Desmond's legacy as a pioneer in the civil rights movement stemmed from her refusal to sit on the balcony of a New Glasgow movie theatre in 1946.

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Viola Desmond's heroic acts were recognized today at the unveiling of Canada's new, vertical $10 banknote.

The bill, which also features an eagle feather and an excerpt from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, was met by a standing ovation.

New $10 Canadian bill...

The story of Desmond by and large was unknown for half a century, but in recent years the image of this courageous woman appeared on a stamp, and her name is ferry in Halifax harbour.

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"One woman's actions can really make a difference", Robson, 91, said in the video of her sneak preview, shared by the Bank of Canada.

"We know more about Rosa Parks than Viola Desmond", he said. And when I say suffered, I don't mean that you just couldn't do anything anymore.

The incident happened almost a decade before Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Alabama.

After a trial initiated by the Roseland Film Theatre incident in which she lost the case, Desmond moved to Montreal and enrolled in business college.

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Morneau said the new note will not be in circulation until the end of the year. She died in 1965, but received Canada's first-ever posthumous apology and pardon in 2010.

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