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

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

JULY 11: B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance

Suspect in North Delta home invasion facing attempt murder charge

Blaine Robert Jackson, 37, of no fixed address, faces six charges in relation to this incident

‘Did anything good come out of my son’s overdose death?’ – South Surrey mom

Maggie Plett says action still needed on recovery homes

Rooftop hatchlings ‘a nice addition’ to White Rock RCMP operations

Pair of seagull chicks hatched in ‘fenced playground’ on July 2

Filming applications ‘coming in slowly’ to the City of Surrey

Netflix cancels ‘Sabrina’, but filming manager says new calls coming in to film in Cloverdale

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Man shot dead in east Abbotsford suburbs

Integrated Homicide Investigative Team called to investigate

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read