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Viola Irene Desmond (July 6, 1914 – February 7, 1965) was a Canadian Black Nova Scotian businesswoman who challenged racial segregation at a film theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1946. She refused to leave a whites-only area of the Roseland Theatre and was unjustly convicted of a minor tax violation used to enforce segregation. Desmond's case is one of the most publicized incidents of racial discrimination in Canadian history and helped start the modern civil rights movement in Canada.
In 2010, Desmond was granted a posthumouspardon, the first to be granted in Canada. The government of Nova Scotia also apologized for prosecuting her for tax evasion, and acknowledged she was rightfully resisting racial discrimination.
In 2016, the Bank of Canada announced that Desmond will be the first Canadian woman to be featured on the front of a banknote. She is slated to appear on the $10 bill in 2018.o