The temperatures may have been low on Dec. 17, but the spirits were high as the CP Holiday Train rolled into the Port Haney station in Maple Ridge.
The annual train visit featured performances from two Canadian artists, as well as cheque presentations – thousands of dollars given out to local programs.
As the giant door to the train car lowered, Virginia to Vegas performed his smash hit Just Friends to a crowd of thousands.
After a little holiday-themed call-and-answer session with the audience, Virginia to Vegas transitioned into another song before handing over the stage to the dignitaries for the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows stops of the holiday train, which included MP Marc Dalton, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare, Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith, Maple Ridge Mayor Dan Ruimy, and Pitt Meadows Mayor Nicole MacDonald.
“This CP train, they put new lights on, and it’s absolutely amazing, huh?” said D’Eith.
Maple Ridge fire captain Chris McKee was there representing the local fire department and had a few words of gratitude to share with the crowd.
“Thank you to this great community,” said McKee. “Last weekend we raised over $12,000 with our boot drive at the grocery stores and with some other donations. For the Maple Ridge Fire Fighters Charitable Society, I have a grand total of $40,000 to present to the food bank and to the Christmas hamper.”
CP Rail also made its own contribution of $7,000 to the Friends in Need Food Bank.
After the speeches had been made and the cheques presented, it was MacKenzie Porter’s turn to entertain the audience.
“I can tell that Maple Ridge is a very tight community because you all showed up to help your neighbours and people who need it, and that is so cool,” said Porter before she started her first song.
Before the train continued on its way down the track, Porter and Virginia to Vegas shared the stage together to perform Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.
During the Pitt Meadows stop, the Pitt Meadows fire department also presented money to the food bank and Christmas hamper society, handing them a cheque for $9,190.75.
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