OTTAWA – Early reports suggest that many Canadians are pretending they were familiar with Viola Desmond’s significance in history after the federal government announced her face will be featured on the next $10 bill.
“It’s about time that someone who freed the slaves gets on a $10 bill,” said Miriam LaCroix of Ottawa, believing that the woman who stoically refused to comply with racial segregation in a Nova Scotia movie theatre in 1946 was Harriet Tubman.
Most Canadians who either skipped or fell asleep during their history class in high school reported that they definitely had a general idea that Viola Desmond was a person of significance to get on the currency.
“Yeah, she won a…Victoria Cross?” said Bruce Miller of Toronto, incorrectly referring to the woman who was arrested for standing up for her civil rights nine years before Rosa Parks made her stand on a bus in Alabama. “She was really brave. Killed lots of Germans.”
Others were overconfident in their guesses. “She was a great actress of the silent film era,” explained Farshid Gilgamesh of Vancouver. “She did lots for our country.”
Prior to googling her name, countless Canadians erroneously identified the iconic woman who helped put an end to a Jim Crow law in Canada as the inventor of the zipper, a world champion curler, or a famous brain surgeon.