Concordia University Presents

The Walrus Talks Play

Toronto Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 7 p.m.



  • The Organization of Play by Ken Dryden, author, lawyer, goaltender
  • The Emerging Culture of Play by Lynn Hughes, Concordia University
  • The Handshake and the Calligraphy Brush by Pico Iyer, author
  • Is Sports Still Play? by Bruce Kidd, University of Toronto
  • The Art of Play by Mark Kingwell, University of Toronto
  • At Play in the Fields of the Future by Jason Edward Lewis, Concordia University
  • Expectation is Play’s Enemy by Marnie McBean, Olympic athlete
  • Cheating by Dick Pound, former president, World Anti-Doping Agency
  • Breaking Barriers by Mary Spencer, boxer


Ken Dryden was both a member of Parliament and minister of social development in the Paul Martin government. As goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens in the ’70s, he helped the team win six Stanley Cups, and he played with Team Canada 1972. He is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, and he has written six books, including The Game and, most recently, Becoming Canada. He teaches at McGill, Calgary, Ryerson, Saskatchewan, and Memorial universities. He and his wife, Lynda, live in Toronto and have two children.


Lynn Hughes has a scholarly background in art, English literature, and the history and philosophy of science, and she currently holds Concordia University’s research chair in interaction design and games innovation. Beginning in 2000, she helped launch the research centre Hexagram Concordia, where she co-directed the inter-university new-media research group Interstices. Along with Bart Simon, she founded the Concordia research centre Technoculture, Art and Games, which promotes collaborations beyond the university, particularly with independent game designers and small studios. Lynn works through the university network and with federal and provincial funding councils to recognize both new media and research creation as important tools to disseminate contemporary knowledge.

Pico Iyer-003425

Pico Iyer was born in Oxford in 1957 to parents from India and educated at Eton, Oxford, and Harvard. He is the author of several books about cultures converging, including Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, The Global Soul, and, most recently, Abandon. His articles appear often in magazines such as Harper’s, Time, and The New York Review of Books. He lives in suburban Japan.

Bruce Kidd is vice-president and principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough and a professor of kinesiology and physical education. Bruce was champion in the six miles at the 1962 Commonwealth Games, and, after fifty-two years, he still holds the Canadian junior record for the 5,000 metres. He has participated in the Olympics as an athlete, journalist, contributor to the arts and culture programs, and accredited social scientist. In 2007, he coordinated the literature reviews that shaped the policies of the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace, and as chair of the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport from 2009 to 2013, he strengthened the Commonwealth Secretariat’s commitment to sport as a means of development. He was founding chair of the Olympic Academy of Canada, served on the boards for Toronto’s 1996 and 2008 Olympic bids, and helped plan the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan American Games in Toronto. He is an officer of the Order of Canada.

Mark Kingwell is a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper’s. He is the author or co-author of seventeen books of political, cultural, and aesthetic theory, including the bestsellers Better Living, The World We Want, Concrete Reveries, and Glenn Gould. His writing has appeared in more than forty mainstream publications, including the New York Times, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Utne Reader, Bookforum, the Toronto Star, and Queen’s Quarterly; he is also a former columnist for Adbusters, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail. A new collection of his essays, Measure Yourself against the Earth, will appear in September 2015.

Jason Edward Lewis is a digital-media poet, artist, and software designer. He founded Obx Labs, where he helps design new means of creating and reading digital texts, systems for creative use of mobile technology, and virtual environments to assist Aboriginal communities in preserving their histories. Along with Skawennati, he co-directs Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace, the Skins Video Game Workshop, and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. A former Carnegie Fellow and current Trudeau Fellow, Jason has been recognized with the inaugural Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature, a Prix Ars Electronica honourable mention, and several ImagineNative Best New Media awards. He is a professor in computational arts at Concordia University where he holds a research chair in computational media and the Indigenous future imaginary. He is of Cherokee, Hawaiian, and Samoan descent.

Marnie McBean is a twelve-time world and Olympic medalist and one of two Canadians to win three gold medals at the Summer Olympics. In 2002, the international rowing federation FISA recognized her outstanding career with their highest honour, the Thomas Keller Award. She worked with the Canadian Olympic Committee to mentor five Canadian Olympic teams, and she is a member and former governor of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, an officer of the Order of Canada, and a recipient of both the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Her first book is titled The Power of More: How Small Steps Can Help You Achieve Big Goals.


Dick Pound was a two-time vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, the founding president of the World Anti-doping Agency, and the organizer for television negotiations, marketing, and sponsorships for all Olympic events up to and including the 2008 Beijing games. He was also a double swimming finalist at the 1960 Olympic Games, a winner of four medals (including one gold) at the 1962 Commonwealth Games, and a nationally ranked squash player. Dick is now a tax law specialist with Stikeman Elliott, the author of thirteen books, and the recipient of numerous awards, including an honorary degree from Concordia University. He is a companion of the Order of Canada, an officer of the Ordre national du Québec, and a graduate of both Concordia and McGill universities.


Boxer Mary Spencer is a three-time world champion and five-time Pan American champion who made her Olympic debut in 2012, were she tied for fifth in the middleweight category. She was named “one to watch” by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity, she is a member of Motivate Canada’s Gen 7 Aboriginal Role Model initiative, and Procter and Gamble chose her as a 2012 Cover Girl. She began boxing in 2002 at age seventeen and is a proud member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

Concordia University

The Walrus Talks is a national series of events produced by the charitable, non-profit Walrus Foundation as part of an educational mandate to provide forums for conversation on matters vital to Canadians. The Walrus Foundation produces The Walrus magazine, the most awarded publication in Canada, as well as producing content at, on Walrus TV, and on stages from coast to coast to coast.

The Walrus Talks format features eight speakers for seven minutes each on various themes relating to a single topic. Each event offers lively, thoughtful, inspiring, riveting, smart, new thinking from scientists, writers, performers, scholars, and leaders of business and the arts. Each Talks event is followed by a spirited reception with attendees and participants.

The Walrus Talks delivers fresh ideas and new ways of looking at big issues. The Walrus has no “wings.” Our speakers are chosen to reflect a range of experiences and viewpoints, but they all have one thing in common: the desire for real conversation about issues that affect the future of Canada. Our goal is for audience members to think “I never thought about it that way” when the Talks are over.

In 2015, The Walrus Talks will be held in Calgary, London, Winnipeg, Montreal, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, and Victoria. They will address themes including vice, creativity, the Arctic, the animated city, the Aboriginal city, being human, play, and water.

The Walrus Talks 2015 will feature more than 100 speakers from all walks and from across the country. The Walrus Talks are sponsored by forward-thinking members of the private and public sectors whose support enables the Canadian conversation and encourages dialogue on a wide range of issues.

Dates, details, and ticket information are available at