Manufacturing Heroes: The Beatification Of Viola Desmond


So Viola Desmond’s face finally made it on Canada’s new ten dollar bill. Not a moment too soon though, because the suspense has been killing me. Ever since the media announced two years ago that Desmond was the winner of contest to see which Canadian heroine would displace John A. MacDonald.

I recall that moment with clarity. Global TV News had just finished talking about the achievements of the late John Glenn, when Viola’s fan club came up to the plate. The newscaster described Desmond’s refusal to move from the “whites only” area of the Roseland movie theatre as a “brave and defiant act” and a “transformative protest”. To bolster the point, interviewee Dr. Annette Henry noted that since she did it 9 years before Rosa Park, Rosa Park was the American Viola Desmond, rather than the reverse. Makes you proud to be a Canadian, doesn’t it?

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