The CP Holiday train will be chugging into town this year for the first in-person event since the pandemic side-tracked the cross-country tour in 2020 and 2021.
On Saturday, Dec. 17, the train, decorated in thousands of Christmas lights, will be pulling into the Port Haney station in Maple Ridge before stopping in Pitt Meadows for the event’s 24th tour – an event that has drawn thousands of people in pre-pandemic years.
Mary Robson, executive director of the Friends In Need Food Bank is excited that the CP Holiday Train is back in-person this year, as the event raises money and food for food banks across Canada and the United States – in addition to awareness about food insecurity issues.
“The in-person event almost doubles the cash we receive from CP Holiday Train, as well as food donations,” she explained.
However, Robson added, although COVID side lined the train for two years, the CP family did not forget about supporting the food banks. The Friends In Need Food Bank still received $7,000 for Maple Ridge and another $7,000 for Pitt Meadows each year during the pandemic, for a total of $28,000.
Keith Creel, CP’s president and chief executive officer, noted his gratefulness to the CP team members who organized the two virtual Holiday Train shows during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to everyone who kept donating to the cause, but added that he is also excited to have the train back on the tracks once again this year.
“The Holiday Train is all about families and communities coming together to celebrate the season and help those in need. We are excited to be back out on the rails and in our communities, taking these two beautiful trains across our network and sharing the joy that comes with gathering in the spirit of giving,” he elaborated.
Two trains will be setting off, one for the American tour and one for Canada, featuring different musical acts.
The trains are scheduled to launch on Wednesday, Nov. 23, with the first shows in Canada being played on Nov. 24 in Lac-Megantic, Sherbrooke and Farnham, Quebec.
Then the train will travel across Canada, making stops along the way,, with a final show on Sunday, Dec. 18, in Port Coquitlam.
In Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows the performers will be Nashville-based Canadian country artist Mackenzie Porter, and Virginia to Vegas, also known as Derik Baker, an American-born Canadian singer-songwriter.
Porter recently scored a six-week number one hit after collaborating with Dustin Lynch on the single Thinking ‘Bout You, which earned Porter her first number one single in the United States. Porter also became the first female artist to have three consecutive number one singles on Canadian country radio in 22 years. She has previously shared the stage with Jordan Davis, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Chris Lane, Blake Shelton, Dallas Smith, and co-starred in the Netflix series, Travelers.
Baker is best known for his indie-pop choruses and sticky electronic melodies, which have awarded him critical acclaim and several platinum certifications. He has received more than 650 million global streams and the designation of 2020’s second most played Canadian artist on the radio.
In total the tour will feature 168 live shows across both countries.
Holiday Train shows are free to attend but attendees are asked to bring a cash or non-perishable food donations, if they are able to. Collection stations for the Friends In Need Food Bank will be set up at each event. All donations go to helping people in need within the community. CP Rail is encouraging cash donations as local food banks purchase food at a discount, and so cash donations can go further than food donations to help those in need.
Since the Holiday Train program launched in 1999, it’s raised more than $21 million and collected five million pounds of food for community food banks across North America.
The CP Holiday Train will be pulling up at 7:50 p.m. across from the Billy Miner Pub at 22355 River Road, with the free concert taking place between 8-8:30 p.m..
Then the train will leave for Pitt Meadows, stopping at the railway crossing at Harris and Advent Roads at 8:55 p.m. with the event running from 9:05-9:35 p.m..
For more information go to cpr.ca/en/holiday-train/canada.
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