Wednesday Night #1500 Messages

Written by  //  December 1, 2010  //  Alexandra T. Greenhill, Beryl Wajsman, Herb Bercovitz, Messages From Friends, Special Wednesday Nights, The Salon, West Wing (WWWN)  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #1500 Messages

See also

Alan Hustak: Fifteen hundred consecutive Wednesdays

A moveable feast

By Beryl Wajsman, Editor
(The Suburban) Some thirty years ago, Diana and David Nicholson opened their storied home at 33 Rosemount Avenue in Westmount for conversations with friends every Wednesday night. Those conversations grew into a Montreal tradition that rivals the most influential political and literary salons of Washington, London or Paris. Almost every leader from the worlds of politics, finance, medicine, science, academia and any other vocation you can think of have passed through their warm and welcoming doors. And many of the ideas from these Wednesday Nights have found their way into our collective consciousness. They have affected our lives for the better. They have affected those who affect our public discourse. They have made all of us who participate wiser, more generous and more compassionate. But most of all, these special Nights have forged friendships that have made us all family. Our hearts and spirits have been touched as much as our minds. I have been fortunate to have been going for just over a decade. But The Suburban has another connection to this special place. One of our colleagues, Albert Sevigny, was raised in that house. His father was Defence Minister Pierre Sévigny and it was the Sévignys who sold the house to the Nicholsons. And indeed Pierre Sévigny was a participant at many a special night. Wednesday Night at the Nicholsons’ is a Montreal tradition. The salon has been covered in several of our daily newspapers. Tonight will be the 1500th consecutive Wednesday Night. It will be a grand celebration at the University Club. We wanted to pay a special tribute to this remarkable and unique moveable feast. Ernest Hemingway once wrote that, “If you were lucky enough to have lived in Paris then – for the rest of your life – it stays with you. It is a moveable feast.” That’s the way I feel about this very special band of brothers and sisters. Even though the Nicholsons have moved from Rosemount to Haddon Hall, the Feast is no less sweet.


My purpose in E-Mailing you is to tell you that I missed joining the celebration last night but … I would, however enjoy a note indicating how that great celebration went. It boggles my mind to try to understand your willingness to invest in the time, effort and wear and tear that it has cost you to bring friendship and happiness to so many people and hope that the accolades last night adequately reflected the appreciation of your Wednesday Night family.
Herb Bercovitz

Dear Diana and David,
As I write this message here in Berlin at 3:19 a.m. local time, I am winging in spirit across the many kilometers of snowy landscape, cold ocean, & more snowy landscape, to join you in Montreal at the wonderful, sparkling, star-studded celebration of Wednesday Night, and of you, its extraordinary founders.
I just want to say “Congratulations,” “Bravo!” and “ENCORE”!!!
With deep admiration, affection & respect,
xxooo Marion (Canute)

David & Diana,
Wish I could be there for this newest milestone! I hope things go well tonight, lift a glass for Texas. As I type this, I’m lifting a real glass of Beaujolais Nouveau, a small soulful way to be with you all in spirit if not body…….
And don’t indulge in too many “paroxysms of moral outrage, a Canadian specialty” (courtesy of NYT and Wikileaks….)!
Ricardo, “Hispanic” candidate for some riding or other aka Rick Sindelar

Hello David, Diana,
I hope you have a great evening for the 1500th!
May the evening do justice to all that you have accomplished over the years. You are held dearly in the hearts of a great number of us!
With heartfelt thanks,
Helen (Van Eyk))

Dear David and Diana,
I believe this is the first celebratory Wednesday Night I have missed, other than the very first one, of course. Gloria and I helped orchestrate the 500th and that turned out to be a marvelous evening, as was the 1000th which Peter Trent organised.
David kindly asked me to write “something” for this evening to go into the 1500th Wednesday Night annals because I “write well”, according to him.
The uncomplicated beginnings of our friendship reach into the late ’80s when David accosted me in the halls of the ALCAN building and invited me to the next Wednesday Night, which I admit I accepted reluctantly. But attend I did. I was hooked that first night. The mind of Carl Beigie terrified and amazed me, and although I can’t remember the other luminaries, other than Peter Trent, they, too, sat around the table arguing, in the true sense of the word, quietly and intelligently. When David asked me to contribute in a political discussion, I did so with great trepidation. I startled no one, I was pleased to note, I became more comfortable as the topics and voices whirled around that magnificent dining room under David, the conductor with his leader, Diana, alternately egging him on, and berating him, but only when he deserved it which was not really all that often. The crew around that great and now famous table would become restless and murmur almost volubly, as if mildly considering mutiny, but they quickly returned to their traditional, intellectual roles.
Then, of course, our sons became friends at Lower Canada College. In fact, Marc Nicholson enrolled Jamie Kinsman into the LCC squash team. Interesting, isn’t it, that Marc, a nationally ranked squash player in his own right should recognise the very budding talent of another junior to recommend that he play for one of the top schools in the country. Interesting, too, that Jamie knew nothing of Marc’s ploy until virtually the last minute and then fought alongside Marc to bring the championship home to LCC.
Marc learned how to judge people from his parents. He taught Jamie, and me, about the importance of the ability to recognise the talents of others.
I have always loved Fiona. Quirky, fun, and no one deserves her intelligence, not even she. … What a wonderful, wonderful person she is!
Yes, I could write about the importance of Wednesday Night to me and all I have learned to date, recognising that much remains to be gained, and the interesting and delightful participants I have met through Wednesday Night. But as you can see, the most important of all this and all that has been you, David and Diana, and, in fact, the Nicholson family
Stephen (Kinsman)

Dear Diana and David,
All success for tonight. So much deserved.
Very sorry not to be able to join you.
It came down finally to the weather ….
Very sorry.
Warmest wishes,
Laura and David (Kilgour)

I had hoped to be able to attend this Wednesday gathering in honor of my dad but I’ve recently taken on an expanded role here at State Farm and have needed to stay here in Illinois.
Dear Wednesday Nighters
I regret that I am unable to represent my dad Carl at this 1500th gathering. But I wanted to share these words of congratulations as you embark on the next 1500.
My father enjoyed debate and discussion. And he loved to teach. This was his main currency in life. Wednesday Night provided an ideal setting for all his passions to come together in one place with people he cared about.
The concept of a salon – while centuries old – couldn’t be more current. At a time when so much is made of social media, I find that the term comes up decidedly short in the “social” department. The challenges and opportunities facing our nation and world today can’t be meaningfully distilled into short tweets and sound bites. Yet people still try.
It is my view that individuals very soon will set aside notions of relations by keypad and mouse click and return to actual conversation and in-person engagement. After all, this is what we are put on earth for – to participate in actual human relations – however graceful or messy.
So everything old is new again. And at this mile marker I hope people gathered this evening realize that you are at once both old-fashioned – and the next big thing! My father would have been pleased to be in the thick of things with all of you.
Best wishes for the future.
David Beigie

Dear friends of Wednesday West,
It is with great happiness that we want to acknowledge that tomorrow in Montreal, Diana and David Nicholson, the brilliant pioneers of the concept of inspired discussions on topics of timely interest amongst fascinating people, will be hosting their 1500 uninterrupted weekly Wednesday Night salon! Congrats D&D, and un enorme merci!!!!!!!
Why merci?!? Years ago, as a traveler crossing the desert in hope beyond hope happens upon an unexpected lush oasis, so did we stumble upon Diana and David’s miraculous Montreal institution, at which political, social, artistic, and scientific questions are discussed weekly with never ending passion and an abundance of new perspectives. This is what the Salons of the French 18th century Age of Enlightenment must have felt like and the impact of these gatherings is of similar scope to be felt for decades to come. We were smitten – at first sight and it’s quite clear – the fascination and passion endure in spite of the forced gradual separation that saw us move to the other end of the country.
Having been sent on a mission to establish the Wednesday West Wing in Vancouver, it has been humbling to realize how much thought and work goes into what Diana and David make look so effortless and easy. Real discourse, both in terms of insightfulness of content and elegance of expression, combined with an impressive array of interesting people and hosted with skill is a customized formula for a unique noteworthy element of Montreal’s cultural expression and we are all grateful to its unwavering weekly presence, both in the real and on-line worlds.
Amongst the many acknowledgements planned: MP Marc Garneau made a statement today in the House of Commons honouring Wednesday Night, there will be a huge party tomorrow honouring David and Diana (organised by the Friends of Wednesday Night) and the December issue of The Métropolitain ( – thanks to Beryl P. Wajsman) will be dedicated as a commemorative to Wednesday Night.
Thank you Diana and David for enriching our lives directly and indirectly for so many years! Que la fête commence!!!
Alexandra & James Greenhill

Beautifully expressed Alexandra. And congratulations to you Diana and David! I feel so blessed to be part of your community. May you have a wonderful party tonight.
Wishing you all the best,
Linda (Naiman)

Congratulations Diana and David! What an incredible achievement. I wish I was in Montreal to join in the festivities!
Best wishes,
Shauna Sylvester

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