The Métropolitain

The quiet charms of fascinating people

By Steven Lightfoot on December 27, 2010

It all started for me 20 years ago. My friend Marina knew I was interested in ideas and the sharing of them, and she had run across this really interesting couple living in Westmount. They held what could only be described as a 19th century Parisian salon right in their home. They had been doing this literally every Wednesday Night for years, which sounded implausible, but was true.

I went a couple of times, but moved on to other interests, and for a long time remembered my visits there very fondly. I would smile whenever I would read a newspaper or magazine article about them.

Fast forward to 2005, and I was ready for new intellectual challenges in my life. I thought, what better way to re-charge my brain than by calling Diana, and asking to visit again. So I did, and have been a regular for some years now.

In my time as a frequent visitor to WN, I have come to appreciate the charms of so many fascinating people who I would never normally have the chance to meet.

Regulars like Robert the photographer, Tony the economist, Kimon the ambassador, and Mark the doctor have allowed us to get an insider glimpse into professional worlds in ways we would never otherwise have the opportunity to see.

And then there are the visitors, movers and shakers some. I specifically remember the visit of US Ambassador David Wilkins who graced WN with his presence. And Canadian politicians, from Charest to Dion, the list goes on and on. 

And on a more personal note, I had the privilege of attending the very first Wednesday Night in Vancouver, an offshoot of our beloved WN at 33 Rosemount. Spearheaded by the tireless and insightful Alexandra, the West Wing of WN carries on the tradition in a British Columbian setting. 

Attending WN has broadened my outlook in ways I couldn’t have imagined, all in such a warm and respectful setting. It’s maybe a bit like ancient Greece, learning and absorbing wisdom from so many experienced people in civilized discussion. Many lessons have been learned, not the least being that you learn a lot more by listening than by talking.

Wednesday Night and David and Diana are a Montreal, Quebec, and Canadian treasure. Thank you both.