Lesser Known Heroine

Gill has a few words about Viola Desmond, the new face on Canada’s $10 bill.


This is the story of Viola Desmond, born 1914 died 1965. She was born in Nova Scotia as one of eleven children.

Things She Did

She longed to have her own hair salon, however beauty schools in Halifax wouldn’t take her because of her skin color. She went off to Montreal and New York, and inspired by trail blazer Madam CJ Walker opened not only a salon, but sold hair products for women of color.

You Can’t Sit There

On a rainy day in 1946 her car broke down in a small community, and while she waited she decided to see a movie. She paid for the regular price, but the clerk told her to go sit in the balcony. She refused, and subsequently ended up in jail. This act of courage set a precedent.

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