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Plans for the annual Canadian Pacific Holiday Train have gone digital. For the first time in 21 years, the train will not run during the Christmas holiday.
According to Canadian Pacific, due to the ongoing pandemic, they will donate to food banks in communities along its network and host a virtual concert instead of going on its regular Holiday Train route this year.
“COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves,” said CP President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel.
“It is our honour to continue to donate to communities across our network this year, even if the train itself will not run. 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!”
Since launching the Holiday Train back in 1999, it has travelled across Canada and the northern part of the US raising money, collecting food, and amplifying the important work done by local food banks.
— Canadian Pacific (@CanadianPacific) September 24, 2020
The event has raised over $17.8 million and collected more than 4.8 million pounds of food for local food banks on their network.
“We are very excited that CP has chosen a safe way to keep the spirit of the CP Holiday Train rolling in support of local food banks like ours in these challenging times,” said Calgary Food Bank President and CEO James McAra.
“The need for food bank services has risen substantially over the course of this year and heading into the high-demand winter months. We hope CP’s concert will prompt the train’s supporters to give as generously as they’re able.”
Yearly in addition to donations and community work, the Holiday Train hosts live music events. This year, CP plans to produce a benefit concert on a digital platform instead.
“We support CP’s decision to hold a virtual concert instead of hosting events that encourage local gathering, though we’ll miss the train’s bright lights and in-person shows,” said Kristine Martin, president of East Side Neighborhood Services, a Minneapolis-based Holiday Train beneficiary food bank.
“CP’s generous donations to East Side Neighborhood Services over the years have helped us provide nutritious food to people who have difficulty accessing traditional food shelves or grocery stores. This year, being able to continue providing those services has been even more important. We’re thankful to CP for their continued support and donations again this year.”
The Canadian Pacific hopes to bring back the Holiday Train on their tour next year.