The pandemic has taken the annual Canadian Pacific Holiday Train off the tracks, but the railroad company will still be working to collect donations for food banks across the country.
CP launched the Holiday Train in 1999 and every year since it has travelled across Canada and the northern U.S., raising money, collecting food and drawing attention to the work of local food banks. In its first 21 years, the train raised $17.8 million and collected 4.8-million pounds of food for local food banks in communities along CP’s network.
Last year’s stop in Kamloops — drawing thousands of people to the rear of Sandman Centre — raised about $50,000 and collected roughly 6,000 pounds of food for the Kamloops Food Bank.
In lieu of driving the train across the continent this December, CP will donate to food banks in communities along its network and host a virtual concert. The modified program will draw attention to food security issues, while ensuring donations go to all food banks that would ordinarily receive them.
“COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves,” CP president and CEO Keith Creel said. “The spirit of the Holiday Train program and the Christmas spirit will carry on this year through our virtual concert. We will have the Holiday Train rolling again spreading Christmas cheer as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
Live music has always been part of the CP Holiday Train tradition, with country singers Terri Clark and Dallas Smith playing to the Kamloops crowd last year. To maintain that tradition, CP will produce a benefit concert, with details to be announced later.