The new Canadian $10 bill honouring civil rights icon Viola Desmond already made history within Canada for being the first bill to feature a Canadian woman and the first vertically-designed Canadian banknote. Now the note is making history abroad with an international honour.
The International Bank Note Society (IBNS) selected the redesigned $10 as the recipient of its 2018 Bank Note of the Year Award. The organization revealed that “almost from the start, Canada’s new vertically oriented $10 bill dominated the voting,” followed by bills from Switzerland, Norway, Russia and the Solomon Islands. The announcement also included a quote from the Bank of Canada saying that they plan to “issue a new denomination every few years” with at least the next four being designed in the same vertical format.
Canada’s new Viola Desmond $10 bill named “Banknote of the Year”.
Other nominees included:
– man with conch shell (Solomon Islands)
– goalkeeper Lev Yashin (Russia)
– soldier Ezequiel Zamora (Venezuela)
– 12 other finalist designs. pic.twitter.com/e3tcGN41bd
— Brett Ruskin (@Brett_CBC) April 30, 2019
After years of debate among Canadians over who to feature on the 2018 revamp of the $10 bill, Viola Desmond was chosen for her historical significance as a civil rights activist and entrepreneur in the 1940s and ’50s. Desmond earned her moniker as “Canada’s Rosa Parks” when she refused to leave a “whites only” section of a Nova Scotia movie theatre in 1946 (though she made her act of defiance almost 10 years before Parks did).
The other side of the bill displays a rendering of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg and a quotation from Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, reading, “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination.”
On International Women’s Day 2018, Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled the new bill along with Desmond’s sister and fellow activist, Wanda Robson.
Canada’s newest bank note – featuring human rights icon Viola Desmond – is the best in the world! As Canadians, we can all celebrate that Viola’s story of standing up to injustice is inspiring people around the globe. https://t.co/vBeIdrax9O
— Bill Morneau (@Bill_Morneau) April 30, 2019
“I was speechless,” Robson said of seeing the note for the first time. “It’s amazing. It’s beautiful. It’s unique… and I give the artist so much credit. So much credit.”
This isn’t the first time Canadian money has won the IBNS’s top honour. We also won the inaugural award in 2004 for that year’s redesign of the green $20 note (the paper one, not the most recent plastic one). Canada also placed second at the awards in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and third in 2017.