2018 marks the twentieth year for the Canadian Pacific Holiday Trains and their efforts to raise money, food, and awareness for local food banks and food shelves across Canada and the Northern USA. “As a Canadian company that operates in Canada and the U.S., CP is proud to display the flags of both countries on the Holiday Trains.” Canadian Pacific states on their website. For the locomotively educated, the two GP20C 2200 series engines, built originally in 1957, were rebuilt in 2013 to haul CP’s two Holiday Trains. Each locomotive has 2000hp, is 56.02 feet in length, and weighs 275,000 pounds. Each Holiday Train is about 1,000 feet in length with 14 rail cars and hundreds of thousands of LED lights. That sure sounds like a whole lotta locomotive.
Since 1999, the Holiday Train has raised more than CAD $14.5 million, and 4.3 million pounds of food for food banks across North America. What makes this endeavour so heartwarming is that everything raised in a community, along with donations from CP at each stop, stays in that community. Millions of people across North America make ends meet with the help of food banks. The CP Holiday Train wants to not only help restock our food banks, they also want to ensure that everyone who needs it has access to healthy and nutritious food. “It is a privilege for CP to be able to run a program like this and connect with so many communities across our network. I want to personally thank each individual who has made a donation over the past 20 years – your collective efforts have made the Holiday Train a huge success for two decades.” says Keith Creel, CP’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
The CP Holiday Train is able to pull all of this off with the help of some talented and generous performers. This year it carried acts Terri Clark, Kelly Prescott, Sierra Noble, The Sam Roberts Band, JoJo Mason, The Trews, Willy Porter, Tyson Venegas, and Tracey Brown from community to community to perform for crowds of smiling faces. “A typical Holiday Train event goes something like this: the train arrives and pulls to a safe stop in front of the crowd. The stage door lowers and the band opens with its first song. After that, a brief presentation takes place with local food bank officials and other dignitaries. Once complete, the band resumes performing a mix of traditional and modern holiday-themed songs. The whole event lasts about 30 minutes. Once the band plays its farewell song, the stage door closes, and the train heads off to the next stop.” CP explains.
On December 10th, the Holiday Train pulled into the Old Strathcona CP yard on 103rd Street, and 80th Ave. Unfortunately, nobody from Lula could make it to the station to see the show, but from what we’ve heard, people showed up in droves to see Canadian Country legend Terri Clark perform with Sierra Noble, and Kelly Prescott. “I had such a wonderful time on the US leg of the Holiday Train last year, and I’m so excited for this experience again across my home country of Canada. Seeing the smiling faces, holiday spirit, and people giving back to their own communities is an amazing thing to be a part of and witness.” Clark says while Prescott agrees with a similar sentiment, “I’ve had the honour of being a part of the Holiday Train for many years, yet this never gets old. In fact, it becomes more magical every year. To see firsthand the difference this program makes in each community is nothing short of incredible.” Noble, a first timer on the Holiday Train was equally as optimistic, “I am beyond excited to be a part of the 20th anniversary Holiday Train! Come join us with your friends, family, and food bank donations while we warm our hearts together through song in the cold chill of winter!”
There’s still a few stops left of the 164 communities before the end of the line. The US train will come back up into Canada and finally stop in Weyburn Saskatchewan on December 16th, while the Canadian train will come to a stop in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia on December 18th. If you’re in the area, open up your wallets or your cupboards and help contribute to the cause. Our family at Canadian Pacific urges you to take photos of the Holiday Trains and enter them into their Capture the Spirit photo contest. How does a trip for four aboard the 2019 CP Holiday Train and a $1,000 donation to your local food bank sound?