An evening with Wanda Robson, champion of Viola Desmond’s legacy

February 6, 2020


For immediate release

Gatineau, Quebec, February 6, 2020 — The Canadian Museum of History is proud to host a special evening on February 27 with author and educator Wanda Robson, youngest sister of Viola Desmond, “Canada’s Rosa Parks.” Ms. Robson is well known for raising public awareness of the struggle for racial equality in Canada, and was instrumental in the drive to have Viola Desmond’s image appear on Canada’s new $10 bill.

Wanda Robson is the youngest sister of Viola Desmond, who became famous for refusing to sit in the back of a movie theatre on a fateful evening in 1946. A successful businesswoman in her day, Ms. Desmond refused to be treated differently, based on the colour of her skin. Since Ms. Desmond’s death in 1965, in addition to her many other activities, Ms. Robson has championed her sister’s legacy in public appearances and in print — including the book Sister to Courage: Stories from the World of Viola Desmond, Canada’s Rosa Parks.

The Museum of History is pleased to have the support of TD Bank Group for this unique evening presentation.

“TD has a long-standing commitment to helping to contribute to a society where more people see themselves reflected in the stories that are shaping Canada. Through the TD Ready Commitment, we are proud to recognize the work of Wanda Robson, as a champion and advocate for human rights, equality, and Viola Desmond’s legacy as part of our 2020 Black History Month Series,” said Naki Osutei, Associate Vice President, Social Impact, TD Bank Group.

In 2018, Viola Desmond’s image appeared on Canada’s $10 bill, representing the first time a Canadian woman had ever appeared the $10 bill. This was largely due to the efforts of Ms. Robson, who was able to generate grassroots support across the country.

The Museum of History is further honouring Wanda Robson and Viola Desmond with plans to record an oral history interview with Ms. Robson. The Museum has acquired seats from the Roseland Theatre, in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, which refused Ms. Desmond the right to sit where she chose. In addition, a stamp featuring Viola Desmond is on view in the National Stamp Collection, and there is a display in the Museum’s Canadian History Hall celebrating the new Canadian $10 bill and the legacy of both Viola Desmond and Wanda Robson.

This special evening will be held on Thursday, February 27, at 7 p.m. at the Museum of History.

Seats from the Roseland Theatre will be on display, and a Heritage Minute featuring Ms. Desmond will be screened. The evening will be moderated by Nova Scotia Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard — a personal friend of Ms. Robson’s — promising a fascinating look at what it means to be women of colour in Canada today. The conversation will be followed by a question and answer session and a reception in the Theatre Lobby. Tickets ($20) are available online or at 819-776-7000.

Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History attracts over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum’s principal role is to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped Canada’s history and identity, as well as to enhance Canadians’ awareness of world history and culture. Work of the Canadian Museum of History is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.


Media contact:

Stéphanie Verner
Media Relations Officer
Telephone: 819-776-7169