The Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train, a rolling fundraising event that travels across Canada and the United States, is back for its 18th year in an effort to raise money, food and awareness for local food banks and food shelves. Since its launch in 1999, the program has raised more than C$12 million and 3.9 million pounds of food for communities along CP’s routes in Canada and the northern U.S.
Each Holiday Train is about 1,000 feet in length with 14 rail cars decorated with hundreds of thousands of technology-leading LED lights and a modified boxcar that has been turned into a traveling stage for performers. As in years past, two trains will operate coast-to-coast under the Holiday Train banner, with approximately 150 shows held in November and December. The train that operates primarily through the U.S. will launch in the Montreal area on Nov. 25, while the all-Canada train’s first shows will come a day later, also in Montreal. The U.S. train will complete its final shows in Saskatchewan on Dec. 15, and the final show of the tour will take place Dec. 17 at Port Coquitlam, B.C.
“For nearly 20 years, CP has watched communities turn out to enjoy a wonderful event while taking a stand against hunger,” said E. Hunter Harrison, CP’s CEO. “We are proud of the role the Holiday Train plays, but more importantly, we’re proud of the people and families that come out year after year to help their neighbours. They’re the reason we keep bringing the train back.” Every pound of food and dollar raised at each stop stays with the local food bank to help feed those in need in that community.
The Holiday Train is proudly sporting an all-Canadian musical line up with multiple Canadian Country Music Award and Juno Award winners. The Canadian train will feature musical guests Dallas Smith and Odds. On board the U.S. train, Kelly Prescott will partner with Doc Walker between Montreal and Windsor, Ont., with Colin James covering the Midwest and Great Plains shows. Jonathan Roy will also perform at all Quebec locations. First-time stops this year include New Albin, Iowa; New Hope, Golden Valley, St. Louis Park, and Callaway, Minnesota.; Olds, Alberta; and Canoe, B.C. A full schedule of Holiday Train stops is available at www.cpr.ca/holiday-train.
Again this year, the Holiday Train program is encouraging people attending events to bring heart healthy donations. Heart health education and awareness is a tenet of CP’s community investment program, CP Has Heart, which focuses on improving the heart health of men, women and children in communities across North America.
“We are very excited about this year’s CP Holiday Train and are encouraging all event attendees to bring healthy, nutritious food items to the shows,” said Pam Jolliffe, Interim Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. “For the last two decades, CP has played an integral role in raising essential food for the holidays and in raising awareness of hunger-related issues.”
Each year, fans of the Holiday Train follow its journey over social media, posting spectacular images of the trains in various cities and landscapes. Those who capture the spirit of the train, holiday entertainment and the spirit of giving are encouraged to enter the “Capture the Spirit” photo contest for the chance to win an exclusive ride on next year’s train. This year, those that enter the contest will help track the train in a customized #CPHolidayTrain map. Further details about the contest will be available closer to the start of the program on the Holiday Train Facebook page.
To help make this year the best yet for local food banks, the Holiday Train asks fans new and old to follow the train on social media, invite their friends and family and spread the message about the importance of heart-healthy donations by using #HealthyDonations.