All aboard CPR train

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is coming to Maple Ridge

The CPR Holiday train arrives in Maple Ridge on Dec. 17.

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train hits the rails again at the end of month and will chug into Maple Ridge on Dec. 17.

Since the program’s inception in 1999, more than $5.6 million and 2.45 million pounds of food have been collected in Canada and the United States.

The goal of the Holiday Train is to collect food and money for local food banks and to raise awareness in the fight against hunger.

The trains are made up of 14 rail cars, decorated with thousands of festive lights and a modified boxcar that turns into a traveling stage for live performances at each stop the train makes.

Both trains will visit 150 cities and towns on both sides of the border. The Canadian train starts off in Quebec on Nov. 27 and heads west through six provinces.

Joanne Olson, executive director of the Friends In Need Food Bank, is hoping everyone is as generous this year as they were last year.

A total of $21,113.24 was presented to the food bank in 2010, as well as 5,500 pounds of food, donated the night of the event.

“Twenty thousand dollars is a significant amount of money,” Olson said of the generosity of the community. “It is about a month’s worth of our budget.”

Firefighters from both the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will once again be collecting money for the food bank at various locations on Dec. 10.

Members of the Maple Ridge department will be out from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. collecting money at Safeway, both Save On Foods locations and at Coopers.

Pitt Meadows firefighters will be at Meadowvale Shopping Centre and Meadowtown Centre from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. collecting cash, food and toys, half of which will also go the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

The Billy Minor Pub is giving out $5 gift certificates with every five non-perishable food items donated at the pub.

Since the CP Holiday Train program started in 1999, close to 2.5 million pounds of food donations have been collected and $5.6 million.

The 13th annual event will be headlined by folk musician Valdy.

A native to Ottawa, Ontario, Valdy has been performing for more than 40 years and has fans all over the world.

Valdy is behind such hits as Play Me a Rock ’n’ roll Song and A Good Song that was recorded by Quincy Jones under the name Just A Man.

Joining Valdy on stage will be special guests, the Brothers Dubé.

Dubbed as Canada’s youngest rock band, Liam, 14, Jan, 12, and Quinn, 10, have been raising money for charity since they formed the band in 2006. They have performed live with artists like Arcade Fire and Hollerado and performed on the 2010 Holiday Train with The Odds. They have also raised more than $130,000 for Haiti Relief, breast cancer research and various children’s charity organizations. You can catch them performing Jingle Bells at  the Santa Toy Parade on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on YouTube.

This year, the Holiday Train will have an interactive map so viewers can check out all the Holiday Train stops.

As well, the CP Holiday Train will be supporting a program called Decorate and Donate to encourage children to help feed their communities.

To participate, go to www.cpr.ca, click on the CPR Holiday Train link, look for “Spread the word,” and download one or more of the Holiday Train designs from the “Decorate and Donate” section.

Once decorated, wrap the art around an empty box, to be filled with food or cash donations for the local food bank, which can be delivered when the train comes to town.

Then take a picture of your box and send it to the Holiday Train at holiday_train@cpr.ca, where it will be posted as it travels across Canada.

Train time

Canadian Pacific Railway’s Holiday Train will be chugging into town on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 4:15 p.m. across from the Billy Minor Pub.

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