The territory’s minister responsible for the status of women says it’s a ‘real honour’ that a Canadian woman will be featured on the country’s $10 bill starting in 2018.
Viola Desmond’s image will replace that of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, on the purple banknote.
The black rights activist is often referred to as “Canada’s Rosa Parks” after she refused to move from a “whites only” section at a Nova Scotia theatre in 1946.
She was later arrested and convicted of defrauding the province of a one penny tax, the difference in tax between a downstairs and upstairs ticket.
Her ensuing court case became the first known legal challenge against racial segregation brought forward by a black woman in Canada.
On Thursday, Caroline Cochrane said she was ‘ecstatic’ a woman of colour was chosen to be featured on a Canadian bill.
“It’s an honour to have a female Canadian and it’s an even greater honour to have a female of colour,” she told Moose FM.
“For me it didn’t matter if she was Indigenous, black or Asian. It really validates that the whole fight for civil rights started before the Caucasian feminist movement started.”
At least one NWT woman was nominated to appear on a Canadian bill after the Fort Providence Métis Council put forward Catherine Beaulieu Bouvier Lamoureux’s name in the spring.
Gail Cyr submitted the nomination. Even though she knew Lamoureux hadn’t been shortlisted, Cyr says she’s satisfied with the final selection.
“Viola Desmond really intrigued me,” she said. “I think it’s a good selection, it’s definitely overdue.
“This is only the beginning. I think there will be more opportunities and certainly I do think it’s time for historical women to take their place in the story of the development of Canada.”
Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz said more than 10,000 names were submitted as part of the nomination process.
To be eligible, the individuals had to be a Canadian who had “demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement or distinction in any field, benefiting the people of Canada, or in the service of Canada.”
They also had to be dead for at least 25 years. Viola Desmond died in 1965 at age 50.