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Finance Minister Bill Morneau puts his hand on the shoulder of Wanda Robson, the sister of Viola Desmond, as it is announced Desmond will be featured on Canadian currency during a ceremony in Gatineau, Que., on Dec. 8, 2016.


Canadians will get their first peek at the new $10 bill featuring civil-rights pioneer Viola Desmond at an event in Halifax next week.

The bank note will be unveiled on Thursday at the Halifax Central Library by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz.

Mr. Morneau announced in December, 2016, that the businesswoman turned civil libertarian will become one of the few Canadian women to be celebrated on the face of her country's currency. Ms. Desmond built a business as a beautician and, through her beauty school, was a mentor to young black women in Nova Scotia.

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It was in 1946 when she rejected racial discrimination by sitting in a whites-only section of a New Glasgow, N.S., movie theatre. She was arrested and fined. Even though Ms. Desmond has been compared to Rosa Parks, the U.S. civil-rights hero who refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955, Ms. Desmond's story from nine years earlier received little attention until recent years.

Professor Isaac Saney, a senior instructor of black studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, has said that unlike Ms. Parks, who was part of a well-organized protest movement seeking its day in court, Ms. Desmond's act of defiance was a singular act of courage.

Ms. Desmond's legacy is being increasingly recognized. Her name now graces a Halifax Transit harbour ferry and there are plans for streets in Montreal and Halifax.

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