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Who Is Viola Desmond?

12/08/2016 11:04 EST

Dubbed Canada's very own Rosa Parks, Viola Desmond was recently announced as the first Canadian woman on the $10 bill.

At a press conference in Gatineau, Quebec, on Thursday, finance minister Bill Morneau said the bill will go into circulation in 2018.

“It’s a big day to have a woman on a banknote,” said Desmond’s sister Wanda Robson, the Toronto Star reports. “It’s really big day to have my big sister on a banknote.”

viola desmond

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau puts his hand on the shoulder of Wanda Robson, the sister of Viola Desmond, as it is announced Desmond will be featured on Canadian currency during a ceremony in Gatineau, Quebec on Thursday December 8, 2016.

Born in 1914 in Halifax, Desmond was a beautician and businesswoman, the Canadian Encyclopedia notes.

But it was her brave act in Nova Scotia in 1946 that the activist is most known for (it even became a heritage moment earlier this year).

Desmond, who wanted to watch a movie, was kicked out of the theatre after sitting in a whites-only section.

After spending the night in jail, she was brought to court and charged with attempting to defraud the provincial government. Desmond fought her "tax evasion" charge at trial, even though she knew the real issue was the colour of her skin. The judged fined her $26.

The incident launched the province's civil rights movement and in 2010, Desmond was granted free pardon by the Nova Scotia lieutenant-governor at the time, Mayann Francis.

Desmond also spent time as a teacher and opened doors for many young black women in business by opening up her own beauty school in the province.

She passed away on Feb. 7, 1965, at the age of 50.

Watch the full video above to learn even more about Desmond's life.

With files from Joshua Ostroff

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