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19 Feb 2014

Viola Desmond honoured with new holiday in Nova Scotia

Starting in 2015, every third February in Monday will be a statutory holiday in Nova Scotia.

Viola Desmond commeorative Canada Post cover

The first person to be honoured on the new holiday is civil rights activist Viola Desmond. The new holiday doesn't have a name yet. High school students will be involved in pitching a permanent name and ideas for the next 12 people or events to be honoured. Each year, a different contribution to Nova Scotia's history will be featured. Officials say the name of the holiday should instill pride in being Nova Scotian.

Viola Desmond, who owned a hairdressing business was jailed and fined in 1946 after she refused to give up her seat in a white section of a New Glasgow movie theatre. She lost her court battle but her fight ignited a discussion of Nova Scotia's segregation laws and led to its dismantling. Desmond was only officially pardoned in 2010 and was featured on a commemorative stamp from Canada Post in 2012.

Click here to watch a documentary about Desmond's life story and struggle for equality.

Read 1990 times Last modified on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 17:52
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