The Royal Canadian Mint’s first Black History Month coin celebrates Viola Desmond

The Royal Canadian Mint is paying tribute to a civil rights pioneer from Nova Scotia with its first Black History Month coin.

The silver collector coin pays tribute to Viola Desmond who is referred to as the “Canadian Rosa Parks”. Viola challenged racial segregation at a cinema in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, in 1946. She refused to leave a whites-only area of the Roseland Theatre and was convicted of a minor tax violation for the one-cent tax difference between the seat she had paid for and the seat she used which was more expensive. 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.

According to the Royal Canadian Mint, her exceptional legacy is now preserved on a 99.99% pure silver coin. The coin — which will retail for $149.95 — will be issued for the 105th anniversary of her July 6, 1914 birthday. This is the first  coin to be issued.

Desmond also graces Canada’s new $10 bill, which went into circulation late last year.


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