Wanda Robson’s older sister Viola Desmond, the civil rights pioneer and businesswoman, is the new face of the $10 bill. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canadians fail quiz on prominent BIPOC figures in history

Only 160 of 1,000 respondents were able to pass a quiz on racialized Canadians

Viola Desmond has appeared on newly printed $10 bills for nearly two years, but only 29 per cent of Canadians are familiar with the civil rights crusader and how she challenged racial segregation in the 1940s.

Ahead of Canada Day – in a year that has quickly become one of reckoning for systemic racism – Historica Canada has released quiz results shedding light on just how little Canadians know about Indigenous, Black and other Canadians of colour who helped transform this country for the better.

Only 16 per cent of the 1,000 adult respondents surveyed were able to pass the quiz, which included 24 questions on a variety of topics from notable figured to innovations and health.

Forty-nine per cent of respondents knew that Canadian contributions were key to the development of the polio vaccine in the 1950s, while 35 per cent recognized Clara Hughes – a decorated Olympian who has championed mental health awareness.

But when it came to marginalized people, few knew who they were or their achievements, the poll results show.

Only six per cent of those surveyed recognized Indigenous filmmaker and activist Alanis Obomsawin. Five per cent were familiar with Baltej Dhillon, the first RCMP officer to wear a turban, although recognition increased to 12 per cent among British Columbian respondents.

Sixteen per cent recognized Willie O’Ree, the first Black NHL player born in 1935 in Fredericton, N.B.

Canada’s youngest adults were more likely than their older counterparts to correctly identify that 15-year-old Autumn Peltier was named “chief water commissioner” by the Anishinabek Nation in 2019, while Boomers were more likely to know that Chief Dan George was the first Indigenous actor to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Anthony Wilson-Smith, president and CEO of Historica Canada, said the intent of the poll was to draw attention to Canadians “who made a lasting mark on Canada and the world” by fighting against racism and contributing to medicine and health.

“Those are areas where there isn’t great awareness of Canadian achievements,” Wilson-Smith said in a statement.

“Only four per cent of respondents, for example, know that Mary Two-Axe Earley achieved constitutional change for women marginalized by the Indian Act. We don’t expect Canadians to know all of these stories – but we hope they take time to learn them.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Canada Day

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Survey to gauge interest in connecting Cowichan to Nanaimo by bus

People can fill out the survey until Oct. 16.

Cowichan Valley family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, Big Stick light up red to signal COVID devastation

“COVID-19 has been truly devastating to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre”

MacGregor hosting virtual town hall on green COVID economic recovery

“Making the right investment decisions now to ensure a visionary carbon-conscious recovery…”

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species

Conservancy manages habitat for more than 25 plant and animal species at risk

Most Read