New $10 bill featuring civil rights icon Viola Desmond to be unveiled next week

A mock up of what a bill with Viola Desmond on it would look like. Global News

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 Thursday at the Halifax Central Library by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz.

READ MORE: N.S. civil rights icon Viola Desmond added to Canada’s Walk of Fame

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.

Desmond built a business as a beautician and, through her beauty school, was a mentor to young black women in Nova Scotia.

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.

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Even though 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, Desmond’s story from nine years earlier received little attention until recent years.

WATCH: Toronto park to be renamed after Viola Desmond

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Toronto park to be renamed after Viola Desmond

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

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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