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Viola Desmond $10 bill named world’s best banknote


Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Wanda Robson, Viola Desmond’s sister, unveiled on March 8, 2018 the new $10 bill honouring Desmond as a human rights activist. - Eric Wynne / File
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Wanda Robson, Viola Desmond’s sister, unveiled on March 8, 2018 the new $10 bill honouring Desmond as a human rights activist. - Eric Wynne / File

Canada’s banknote featuring Viola Desmond has been deemed the best in the world.

The International Bank Note Society awarded the new $10 bill 2018 Bank Note of the Year.

The purple vertically oriented bill “dominated the voting,” the society said in a news release. Canada was selected from a list of 15 finalists, including Switzerland, Norway, Russia and the Solomon Islands.

The bill was the first Canadian banknote to have a vertical design.

The bill features a portrait of Desmond and a historic map of north-end Halifax on one side. An eagle feather and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg is on the other side.

Desmond, a human rights icon, refused to leave the whites-only section of a New Glasgow movie theatre on Nov. 8, 1946. She was thrown in jail for 12 hours and fined.

Nova Scotia issued Desmond, who died in 1965, a posthumous apology and pardon in 2010.

Since, Desmond has been featured on a stamp and has a Halifax harbour ferry named in her honour.

The $10 banknote featuring Desmond entered circulation in November 2018.

Canada last won the IBNS award in 2004 for its $20 bill that featured a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

“Canada plans ‘to issue a new denomination every few years’ and the Bank of Canada has confirmed the next four notes in this series will also use the vertical format,” the International Bank Note Society said in the release.

Click here to see all of the finalists.

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