Atkinson Field Notes

Learning in Action

News, presentations and reflections from Atkinson’s Chief Executive Officer Colette Murphy and the rest of the Atkinson team.

2 Feb 24
The reality of Ed Broadbent’s death is sinking in slowly. He seemed ageless and invincible at 87. A much respected main character in the story of this country – and in the lives of many individuals and communities with whom he made common cause. Atkinson was one of the organizations with whom Ed collaborated over several decades to advance a broad, shared vision... Read more >
1 May 23
“We’ve lost a giant,” wrote Pedro Barata on the day after we learned that Dr. Charles Pascal had died suddenly. “Charles was relentless. He leaves us such a rich legacy of progressive policies and strong organizations pushing for social justice. So many of us benefited from Charles’ wisdom, time and belief.” Ever since I heard the news last Monday... Read more >
21 Dec 22
The Atkinson Foundation turned 80 this year. We arrived at the threshold of a new decade quietly, in stark contrast to the boisterous celebration of our 75th anniversary at 1 Yonge Street, in the space that once housed the Toronto Star’s printing presses. In  October, Atkinson’s Board and staff members raised their glasses to Joseph Atkinson and Elmina Elliott... Read more >
6 Feb 22
Ever since the news of John Honderich’s sudden death broke, like many of you, I’ve been taking in the story of his life. Friends, co-conspirators and rivals alike have attested to John’s brilliance, tenacity, and principled pursuit of stories with the power to re-shape the world. At the Atkinson Foundation, we witnessed all of these leadership qualities... Read more >
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 >
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