Cape Breton University Celebrates Viola Desmond with Book Launch and $10 Bill Exchange with Bank of Canada

Cape Breton, NS

On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, Cape Breton University will celebrate the launch of a new book, Viola Desmond; Her Life and Times, written the Viola Desmond Chair in Social Justice, Graham Reynolds with Desmond’s youngest sister, Wanda Robson. Additionally, CBU will celebrate the new $10 vertical banknote featuring Viola Desmond, which officially went into circulation on Monday, November 19, 2018.

The celebration will take place at the Cape Breton University Library on Tuesday, November 27, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Representatives from the Bank of Canada will be on hand for a note exchange. Attendees are encouraged to bring their old $10 bills and exchange them for the newly-printed Viola Desmond bill.

“To have Viola featured on a Canadian bill is a giant step forward to understanding what Viola sacrificed, where we’ve been, and where we’re going,” says Wanda Robson. “There’s still a lot of work to be done, but her story is now front and centre. When a child asks their parents’ about the woman on the $10 and who she was, we will all know her story.”

Viola Desmond was arrested after refusing to leave a whites-only section of a theatre in New Glasgow, N.S., in 1946. It was 63 years later, after Desmond’s death, that the Nova Scotia government issued an apology and pardon. Viola’s sister, CBU honorary degree recipient and Alumna, Wanda Robson, has been working to share her sister’s story and to raise awareness of the social injustices she faced.

Viola Desmond; Her Life and Times, chronicles Desmond’s journey from refusing to give up her theatre seat to being the first Canadian woman to appear on our country’s currency. The book is officially sold out, but a special run of 100 books will be released for the event and will be sold for $10 each.

“Working with Wanda over the past number of years has been a very rewarding experience and it has given me many new insights into Viola’s life as well as the injustices experienced by Blacks in Nova Scotia and in Canada.” says Dr. Graham Reynolds.

This event is open to the public. There will be a special performance from the Jubilee Singers, former Inspirational Singers, as well as light refreshments served. Please RSVP to


Event Details: 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Cape Breton University Library

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.