A magnificent and unanticipated pleasure!

Par Prof. Guy Stanley le 27 décembre 2010

The Italian historian Benedatta Craveri remarks  in l’Âge de la conversation (Gallimard 2002) that the conversation of the Salon over the course of a century or more, beginning in the 17th century after the the French wars of religion, developed a civilizing ideal of social conduct based on courtesy and mutual pleasure. Over the course of its development, as other historians noted (e.g. Anne Martin Fugier in her account of Les salons de la Troisième Républic (Perrin/Tempus 2009)) the ideal of sociable conversation deepened as participation broadened to include writers, artists, and politicians. In the WN salon, participants include –besides the above--occasional special guests, economists, investment counsellors, fund managers, engineers, physicians, scientists, professors and ...neighbours, friends, friends of friends, and refreshingly, often the children of participants. The ideals of sociability rule as issues are discussed and Chairman David Nicholson keeps the proceedings moving a-clip under the watchful eye of his accomplished spouse, Diana. The conversation, while well-informed, is not infrequently informed as well by passion—for justice, for reason, even for factual accuracy—as well as the delight of spirited interchange and occasional bon mots.

My introduction to the WN Salon came in the mid 1990 when, as a prof at HÉC, I was invited to tag along with a colleague.  The price of entry was a bottle of wine and, for someone relatively new to Montréal at the time, the accent on sociability was evident in the warm reception accorded me by the far more experienced veterans.  A magnificent and totally unanticipated pleasure that continues was the evening they introduced me to the woman who subsequently became my wonderful wife, Yvette. So I guess it’s fair to say that WN changed my life dramatically and very much for the better.

Over the course of the last 15 years, although I have missed many a WN, the hosts never have: rather, they have unfailingly opened their doors, maintained a web site, and ensured the participation of a well-seasoned mixture of guests literally every WN of every year, with the exception of some holidays.   As a devoted participant, I offer my deepest appreciation for the privilege Diana and David have accorded me over the years and salute them for their extraordinary contribution to the quality of life in Montreal, Québec and Canada.   Bravo and Congratulations on WN 1500!


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