A True Salon

Written by  //  December 1, 2010  //  David/Terry Jones, Special Wednesday Nights, The Salon  //  No comments

By Teresa C. Jones
The MetropolitaIn
December 27, 2010

In 1992, when I arrived in Montreal to replace the number two at the U.S. Consulate General in Montreal, I had a few days of overlap with John Riley, my predecessor. He told me all about this fascinating salon that he attended and that I should attend. He even took me to a Wednesday night meeting. Coming from Washington and the interagency maze of experts, it was refreshing to find a group who actually thought as well as they talked. Diana and David had the magical ability to draw out the best of the discussion and the discussants. The topic didn’t matter. The wit and the intelligence were wonderful, and I always left there wiser. It was also refreshing to find a salon where people did not parrot each other but were able to engage in civilized debate. I made sure that my husband (who was then political minister counsellor in Ottawa) and my future Ottawa boss (the economic counsellor) had a chance to attend. Both Fiona and Marc led some sessions also and showed that this was definitely a family talent.

Since my husband and I retired from the Foreign Service, we have enjoyed the salon even more during visits to Montreal as we now have a bit more time to really appreciate the marvelous chemistry or maybe alchemistry that David and Diana created for all of us.

An unending stream of the best and the brightest
By David T. Jones
The Metropolitan
December 27, 2010

It seems like forever; it seems like only yesterday that I first encountered David and Diana Nicholson and enjoyed a “Wednesday Night.” In the winter of 1993, I was political minister counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, and I attended this first Night as “spouse of” my wife Teresa who was the economic/commercial officer at the U.S. consulate in Montreal.

It was a unique and fascinating experience, entering a mansion that could have been a museum or a television studio and meeting individuals that epitomized the full range of excellence across Montreal specifically and Quebec generally. I quickly concluded that it was the last surviving example of a European salon transplanted to North America wherein there was an unending stream of the proverbial best and brightest with expertise that was ever new and engaging coupled with vigorous but never mean-spirited exchanges within the group. It was, and has remained, unique and fascinating with individualistic touches ranging from snacks limited to peanuts (and wine) to a rapid fire collage of television snippets of the key events of the week.

For an individual entranced by Canadian society and politics, the Nicholsons are always a source first resort–for insight, explanation, and introductions (as well as a place to arrange for senior opposition politicians to quietly visit for private discussions).

Endlessly hospitable, endlessly charming, endlessly engaged with life and friends, who ever thinks of them as other than “David and Diana”? It has been an honor and a privilege to be a “Friend of Wednesday Night”–leaving only the ongoing mystery of “How did ‘mouse’ originate?”

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