The following timeline highlights the accomplishments and milestones of those who have fought for social justice and human rights in Viola Desmond’s name.
Colour Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada 1900-1950 by Dr. Constance Backhouse. The book’s chapter on Viola Desmond outlines the story of Desmond’s arrest and trial in New Glasgow, N.S. The publication generated national media attention for the Viola Desmond case.
Viola Desmond was honoured at Nova Scotia Mass Choir’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Concert at Alderney Landing Theatre Auditorium.
CBC Radio presentation of Witness a dramatic monologue on Viola Desmond by David Woods performed by actress Jackie Richardson with music by Joe Sealy.
Wanda Robson’s debut performance as a storyteller with David Woods’ Voices Black Theatre Ensemble. She begins writing and performing stories of the Davis family and her sister Viola Desmond and delivering school presentations with Voices.
Inaugural presentation of Viola Desmond Day celebration at Ryerson University, Toronto. The event raised awareness of the diverse and little-known stories and contributions of past and present Women of African descent in Canada.
Wanda Robson writes to then mayor of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, requesting the overturning of her sister’s wrongful 1946 conviction for tax evasion.
Roseland Theatre, New Glasgow c.1946 Photo source: The News (New Glasgow) published Feb 13, 2015)
April 15, 2010
The Honourable Mayann Francis, the 31st Lieutenant Governor for Nova Scotia invoked Royal Prerogative and granted Viola Desmond a Free Mercy Pardon, indicating that her 1946 conviction was a miscarriage of justice
Signing of Free Mercy Pardon, Province House, NS, April 15, 2010. Photo source: Paul Darrow, Globe And Mail
August 11, 2010
Publication Sister to Courage: Stories from the World of Viola Desmond, Canada’s Rosa Parks by Wanda Robson, Breton Books
The Viola Desmond Chair of Social Justice is established at Cape Breton University, Sydney NS, Canada. Dr. Graham Reynolds, a history and sociology professor at CBU is appointed Endowed Professor of the Chair.
Long Road to Justice: The Viola Desmond Story documentary film released
September 10, 2011
Publication Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged by Jody Nyasha Warner House of Anansi.
Viola Desmond official stamp released by Canada Post
December 19, 2014
Announcement of the Viola Desmond Song Contest sponsored by the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage in partnership with Music Nova Scotia
February 2, 2016
Viola Desmond Heritage Minute produced by Historica Canada
February 8, 2012
Other People’s Heaven: The Viola Desmond Story a play by Beau Dixon Firebrand Theatre tours Nova Scotia
February 15, 2015
Nova Scotia names its first Heritage Day public holiday, Viola Desmond Day
Publication of Viola Desmond’s Canada: A History of Blacks and Racial Segregation in the Promised Land (Fernwood Publishing) by Viola Desmond Chair Dr. Graham Reynolds and Wanda Robson. Winner of the Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award for Non-Fiction, 2017 Atlantic Book Awards
Launch of Viola Desmond ferry, Halifax, N.S
Photo – Viola Desmond Ferry, launched July 7, 2016 Nathan Green Square Halifax Photo Source: Cynthia Maillet, Radio-Canada
Bank of Canada announces the selection of Viola Desmond as the new face of the Canadian $10 bill
Viola Desmond Way – walkway beside the former site of the Roseland Theatre named in Viola Desmond’s honour in New Glasgow, N.S.
Montreal, QC names street, Rue Viola Desmond, after Viola Desmond
The Viola Desmond $10 dollar bill begins public circulation
Viola Desmond Public School, Halton District School Board, Burlington, Ont.
Hubfield Park, Malvern, Toronto is renamed Viola Desmond Park
Viola Desmond $20 commemorative silver coin released by Royal Canadian Mint.