FINCH — The I Just Came Back singer will put on a show lasting about half an hour before it’s time to say ‘good-bye’ and resume the westward journey, Nov. 27, when CP’s famous Christmas-themed train stops in Finch for the third year running.
The famed Canadian bluesman and guitarist will be accompanied by Toronto pop singer Emma-Lee as the North Stormont village again serves as the first Ontario performance site by one of two colourfully lit “Holiday Trains” dispatched across Canada and the U.S.
James and company are due to step out on the stage that will emerge from the side of a box car, about 15 minutes after the train’s 2:30 p.m. arrival on the tracks north of the Finch Arena.
While the Nov. 27 whistle-stop falls on a Monday afternoon this year, North Stormont Council’s attitude wasn’t derailed at that news when the local politicians met Oct. 24.
“The train is coming on a Monday this year,” observed Councillor Frank Landry, noting that children are still in school at that time of day. He expressed concern the event might be a “hard sell.”
But North Stormont Mayor Dennis Fife warned the councillor he was starting to sound like negative scuttlebutt on Facebook. The mayor pointed out that 90 percent of Holiday Train stops in Ontario and Canada occur during the day and during the regular workweek. “That’s exactly when it happens. Only the very odd one happens at night, on the weekend.”
“As the mayor said, if you look at Belleville, it’s 9 o’clock in the morning the next day. There’s not much you can do, we’re the first stop in Ontario,” observed Deputy Mayor Bill McGimpsey. “On the positive side, we won’t have to bring staff in on overtime.”
“I think we’re going to have a good crowd,” added McGimpsey. “That a good performer we’re getting, Colin James.”
Even if the event draws 2,000 people, down from last year’s 3,000, “that’s still a darned lot of people,” he said.
The Holiday Train raises money for food banks as it journeys westward. The Dundas County Food Bank (now known as Community Food Share) cleared $5,000 at last year’s event, which featured Dallas Smith and Odds.
Dallas Smith and Odds perform at the 2016 Holiday Train stop in Finch.