Canada's Getting a Unique New $10 Bill

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Starting next week, Canada’s $10 bill is going to have a new face, as well as a drastically different look.

First unveiled earlier this year on March 8 — International Women’s Day — the new bill will feature Viola Desmond, a prominent female advocate for racial equality.

Desmond was a black businesswoman who challenged segregation in 1946 when she refused to leave a whites-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

She was subsequently arrested and jailed. Her court case sent ripples throughout the country, being the first known legal challenge against racial segregation brought forward by a black woman in Canada.

While the new $10 bill is set to honour Desmond’s contributions to racial and social justice, her story isn’t the only thing that makes this bill unique — it will also be the first bill issued in Canada to be vertically oriented, rather than horizontal.

The vertical layout was reportedly chosen to allow for a more prominent image of Desmond, as well as to help differentiate it from the current $10 bill.

Alongside Desmond’s portrait, the bill displays a few national symbols as well as text from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A video from Bank of Canada offers a more in-depth look at the bill:

The bill was first shown at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance Joel Lightbound.

Viola Desmond’s remarkable personal story of courage and dignity serves as an inspiration to all Canadians and acts as a powerful reminder of how one person’s actions can help trigger change across generations,” Lightbound said.

The new $10 note not only is a durable and secure method of payment, but also works as an artistic storytelling vehicle of women in Canada’s history.”

The bill will officially go into circulation starting Monday, November 19.

What are your thoughts on the new bill?

Photo and video via Bank of Canada

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