Milton public school named after Viola Desmond, first black woman to appear on Canadian currency.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 22, 2018



We were a different people then.

Harder, harsher less tolerant of others and the differences between the races.

A world war had ended and people were adjusting to a different world but still suffering from the hardships brought on by that war.

Desmond $10 billIn New Glasgow, Nova Scotia Viola Irene Desmond went to a movie theatre and sat in a part that was reserved for white people. She was ejected from the theatre by security people, arrested and placed in a jail cell and charged with 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.

That was in 1946. In 2010, Desmond was granted a posthumous pardon, 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 would be the first Canadian woman to be featured on the front of a banknote; that honour went to Agnes Macphail, who appeared along with three men on a 2017 commemorative note marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Agnes Macphail was the first woman to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1921.

In late 2018 Desmond will be the first Canadian-born woman to appear alone on a $10 bill which was unveiled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz during a ceremony at the Halifax Central Library.

The Halton District school Board decided last night to name a public school in Milton after Viola Desmond.

Gavin Milton #10

Principal of what was, until last night, Milton PS # 10. The Board of Education named the school Viola Desmond Public School. It will open in September of 2018

The Board believes  it is the first school board to name a school after the woman who started the fight for racial equality in Canada. Milton PS # 10 will now be known as the Viola Desmond Public School.

A significant event in the long hard fight in Canada for racial equality, that isn’t over yet, took place in Nova Scotia in 1946.

School principal was on hand at the school board meeting to watch the vote take place.

The school will open in September of 2018 and offer Junior Kindergarten ‐ Grade 7 with Grade 8 English Program to be added in September 2019.

French Immersion Program offered in 2018-2019:   Grade 2 with each grade added in subsequent years.


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