New Glasgow developer to honour Viola Desmond’s legacy
Viola Desmond is seen in this handout image. (source: Bank of Canada)
Major changes are coming to the location where Viola Desmond stood up to racism seven decades ago.
The old Roseland Theatre will be getting a major overhaul, and the owner says he wants to make sure Desmond’s legacy is honoured where her story began.
“We're going to name the building the Viola Desmond Building,” says property owner Jamie MacGillivray. “We're going to put a portrait of her in a street art form, somewhere on the exterior of the building on a large, dramatic scale.”
It’s the same location where back in 1946, Viola Desmond was arrested and convicted for sitting in the “whites only” section of the theatre. Since then, Desmond has received a posthumous pardon and her image will soon be printed on the new 10 dollar bill.
The Town of New Glasgow is also planning on recognizing Desmond by renaming the street next to the building Viola Way.
“It's a reminder of the past, and where we've come and the importance of not forgetting the past,” says New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks.
The idea of honouring Canada's Rosa Parks in this way is also proving to be popular.
“I believe people in general are excited over that too because Mr. MacGillivray could have very well just turned a blind eye, but he wants it preserved,” says human rights activist
Once the artist selection process is finished, MacGillivray hopes to have the artwork installed beginning in the spring of next year when the Desmond 10 dollar bill should be in circulation.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.