Canada’s new $10 bill featuring Civil Rights activist Viola Desmond has received the “Bank Note of the Year Award” for 2018 by the International Bank Note Society.
The vertical format note was released late last year and features the female civil rights activist and Nova Scotia businesswoman Viola Desmond. Desmond became a social justice pioneer within the Civil Rights movement in Canada after she was arrested for refusing to sit in a blacks-only section of a Nova Scotia movie theater in 1946.
The front of the note features an image of Desmond, while the back of the note depicts the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Desmond is the first Canadian woman to appear on the country’s currency. The honor had previously been restricted to British royalty, such as Queen Elizabeth II.
The new polymer-containing banknote is purple and “just fractionally larger than neighboring United States currency bills,” the IBNS said in an announcement.
“Incorporating the latest in technological standards, the bold security features are easy to check and difficult to counterfeit.”
“The organization considers the artistic merit, design, use of color, contrast, balance and security features of each nominated bank note,” the BBC reported.
The banknote dominated the competition “almost from the start,” the IBNS added. Runner-ups included Switzerland’s 200 Franc note, Norway’s 500 Kroner, Russia’s 100 Ruble, and Solomon Island’s 40 dollar bill.
Desmond’s arrest in 1946 led to her being fined “for attempting to defraud the provincial government” on the 1-cent price difference between the theater’s black and white sections. However, Canada gave her a posthumous free pardon in 2010.
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