All aboard the West Coast Express Santa Train this year.
For two Saturdays this December (Dec. 5 and 12) people who get on the Santa Train with a new, unwrapped toy donation, worth about the same price as your train fare, can get a free ride into downtown Vancouver to do their Christmas shopping.
The special West Coast Express Santa Trains leave Mission City station at 10 a.m. and make all the regular stops along the West Coast Express commuter rail route until they reach Vancouver.
In late afternoon, the trains then head back east to Mission, departing Waterfront Station at 4 p.m.
Only toys will be collected. Those will be given to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.
An added attraction for the trip into Vancouver is the North Pole station that opens at 3 p.m. in the Waterfront station in downtown Vancouver. The station will offer photo ops with Santa and egg nog courtesy of Dairyland for the departing commuters.
Last year, more than 4,000 toys and $1,000 were collected, and more than 3,670 people boarded the two trains.
There were too many passengers on the second train to accurately count, said Lorraine Bates, of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.
“Santa and his helpers could hardly make their way through the train,” she said.
Black Press Newspaper Group and Rogers Radio Group are co-sponsors of the event.