But to my pleasant surprise, it began much sooner.
There was some entertainment on board where passengers flocked to fill the Renaissance service car lounge. Montreal musicians Corinna Rose & Leah Dolgoy had just wrapped up their Maritimes tour and were playing their way back home. They were participating in Via Rail's Artists on board program, where professional musicians can travel free, or at a reduced rate, in exchange for performing en route.
Watching Rose and Dolgoy play their bluegrass, folk and rockin' tunes, alongside fellow travelers, was quite magical. I'm usually quite introverted while taking public transportation, and I'm sure I'm not alone. But these enthusiastic songstresses seemed to bring all in attendance intrinsically together. It started with us all clapping and singing along...It transitioned into conversations, beyond the superficial, that lasted the rest of the 20+ hour journey.