Canada’s redesigned $10 bill has earned the Bank of Canada a Bank Note of the Year Award from the International Bank Note Society (IBNS). The society’s members selected the vertically-oriented bill out of 15 potential options released by governments across the world in 2018.
The competition came from Mexico’s 500-peso note, Russia’s 100-ruble note, Norway’s 500-kroner note and China’s 50-yuan note, among many others.
The $10 bill, which prominently features Viola Desmond — a Nova Scotia civil rights pioneer and businesswoman — went into circulation in November.
Desmond, who fought for racial equality, is the first Canadian woman to appear on a regularly circulating banknote.
A release from the IBNS says that the bill dominated the voting almost from the start, with the organization stressing the bill’s new vertical orientation and purple colour as its most striking features.
“Incorporating the latest in technological standards, the bold security features are easy to check and difficult to counterfeit,” IBNS noted in its release.
Desmond was selected to be on the bill after an open call for nominations and a public opinion survey on the Bank of Canada website.
Behind Desmond’s portrait, the banknote also shows a map of Halifax’s historic north end, home to one of Canada’s oldest black communities and the area where Desmond grew up.
On Nov. 8, 1946, Desmond was arrested after refusing to leave a whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, N.S., in an incident that has since become one of the most high-profile cases of racial discrimination in Canadian history.
It would take 63 years for Nova Scotia to issue Desmond a posthumous apology and pardon.
The bill’s reverse features the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.