More than a whistlestop, Holiday Train arrives tomorrow

FINCH — CP’s Holiday Train steams into Finch tomorrow (Sunday, Nov. 27) at 2:30 p.m., and the Christmas-themed spectacle is set to stick around a solid quarter hour longer than it did last year.

As good as it was in November 2015, the train’s first-ever appearance in Finch was more of a trial whistlestop or “stop and go” in CP parlance, according to Dundas County Food Bank Administrator Ian McKelvie.

But this year, residents are in for the “full stop” treatment lasting an entire hour (2:30 to 3:30 p.m.) — 15 minutes longer than last time — McKelvie reported a day after his organization gathered for a final preparatory meeting in advance of the event. The Dundas County Food Bank, also serving North Stormont, will again be the recipient of food drive activity accompanying the Holiday Train’s visit to Finch.

Although the event is free, spectators are encouraged to bring cash or healthy food donations for the Dundas County Food Bank. Last year, visitors contributed over 5,350 lbs of food and $6,736 in cash to the cause.

From a stage emerging from a box car, featured act Dallas Smith & The Odds will entertain the crowds gathered along James Street, behind the North Stormont Arena, and the adjacent field area. But a bigger day is planned beyond the train’s one-hour stop. It begins with the Finch & District Lions Club brunch (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) upstairs at the Arena. Lions will be replaced by Little Ray’s Reptiles with a show of creepy critters in the hour before the Train’s arrival (1 to 2 p.m.). Finch Recreation also plans a chili fundraiser to warm the visiting crowds, 2 to 4 p.m. outside the front doors of the Arena.

North Stormont Deputy Mayor Bill McGimpsey successfully engineered the Holiday Train’s Finch stop, lobbying CP for years before the rail company finally acquiesced in 2015.

Consequently, Finch has become the third stop on the Canadian portion of the annual Holiday Train tour. The CP initiative actually sees two trains operating coast-to-coast: The train running primarily through the U.S. launched in the Montreal area on Friday, Nov. 25, while the all-Canada version held its first shows of 2016 in Montreal West and Beaconsfield, Que., today (Nov. 26).  The U.S. train will complete its final shows in Saskatchewan on Dec. 15, and the final show of the tour will take place Dec. 17 at Port Coquitlam, B.C.

 Local organizers have again lined up an impressive series of shuttle buses and alternative parking arrangements to prevent Finch gridlock. North Stormont Economic Development Officer Amy Martin (Doyle) outlines those plans in a post below.

See the Nation Valley News  events page for the rundown of events Nov. 27 in Finch.

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