Atkinson Field Notes

Learning in Action

Reflections, presentations and speeches by Atkinson’s Chief Executive Officer Colette Murphy and the rest of the Atkinson team.


30 Apr 19
Growing up, my dad, older brother and sister were amateur astronomers. As the youngest at the time, I naturally wanted to be in on the exploration. Summer holidays at the planetarium. Summer nights with the telescope, star maps, and naming constellations. What fascinated me most was that the night sky, the heavens, were shared -- around the globe and through time -- and I had a lot of questions. Read more >
1 Apr 19
This weekend we learned Donna Wood died a couple of weeks ago in Victoria, British Columbia after a long illness. Donna was a private person about her health, but a fiercely public person when it came to the health of Canadian society. That’s why only a few of us had any idea that the paper we published together on Employment Insurance at the end of January would be one of her last. Read more >
4 Nov 17
We’re here tonight to celebrate the good fight. The fight for a better world. No one can reach the age of 75 without having to think about what makes some fights good and others not. The Atkinson Foundation is no exception. We’ve had our fair share of both. Read more >
4 Nov 17
If you know the history of the Toronto Star, you’ll know Joseph Atkinson expected his reporters to “Get the news first, sew it up, pursue every detail, and play it big.” The fight for decent work benefits from the Star’s passion for investigating, reporting and effecting change in countless ways. One way stands out tonight. News gatherers are fighting for the future of journalism these days. Read more >
4 Nov 17
When my grandfather established the Atkinson Foundation in 1942, he had been a journalist and the publisher of the Toronto Star for over 40 years. There are signs, however, that he might have been an architect at heart. Not only did he envision the Toronto Star’s first home on King Street in the late 1920s Read more >
4 Nov 17
I’d like to start by thanking you for the opportunity to advocate for “humanity above all” in a world that is too often inhumane. In preparation for this night, we set out to learn more about this phrase, this timeless mission that Mr. Atkinson placed at the centre of his life and his foundation. We discovered that it has all the characteristics of what’s called a “meme.” Read more >
1 Nov 17
I was a kid who loved the weekend comics but who never quite became a comic book nerd. I discovered Chester Brown's now acclaimed graphic novel on Louis Riel while in university. It was a revelation to me to see such serious information delivered in an entertaining and sensitive way. While the playful illustrations pulled me in Read more >
17 Oct 17
In the same year as the Unemployment Insurance Act was passed by the House of Commons, Joseph Atkinson turned 75. The effects of the Great Depression had been so intense that in 1940 federal and provincial governments were finally willing to take bold measures to prevent its repeat and to mitigate the unpredictability of the economy. Read more >
9 Nov 16
Like most of you, this is my first convocation. I’ve earned two university degrees but I’ve never walked across a stage like this one. Back in 1987, I dreamed about walking the landscape of my textbooks and meeting the people whose lives I studied. Before the ink was dry on my undergraduate diploma Read more >
19 Apr 16
“Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long,” advised Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “but it bends toward justice.” The words of Dr. King mean so much to so many. In my own commitment and work to build a more just world, these words have given me reassurance and perspective. Read more >
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