Christmas-themed train — with Colin James — arrives 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 27
FINCH — The Holiday Train steams into Finch for a third annual stop Nov. 27, an event again helping to stoke Community Food Share in service to the less fortunate.
The special Christmas-themed, lit-up Canadian Pacific train generated donations of $2,130 and 2,398 lb of food for Community Food Share last year — including sums raised by a brunch ($700) and chili dinner ($1,107) held at the Finch Arena as part of related festivities.
Last year’s stop was also punctuated by a $4,000 donation from the train company itself as well as $1,000 left over from the 2015 International Plowing Match that took place in Finch. In total, $8,937 was raised last year.
Stopping at select locations with a free half-hour music show — Colin James and Emma-Lee are riding the rails this year — the Holiday Train’s goodwill tour helps food banks across Canada and the U.S., raising $13-million CDN and 4-million lb of food since 1999.
The administrator of Community Food Share — formerly known as the Dundas County Food Bank — is happy to see that tradition of support continue in 2017: The train’s first visit to Finch in 2015 “launched a new era of visibility for agencies such as ours which cater to those in need of food,” observed Ian McKelvie. “Thanks to the short concerts presented at stops, donors can feel good about giving to a worthwhile cause while listening to some excellent music. It’s a good reminder for us to think about those less fortunate and to do what we can.”
This year, the municipality says it will establish a drop-off point for food items at the main North Stormont office (15 Union Street in Berwick). Donors may also contribute money directly to the Community Food Share, serving both Stormont and Dundas Counties.
Canada 150 ‘Spirit of Tomorrow’ car
The train arrives 2:30 p.m. along James Street in Finch (between Williams and George Streets), with plenty of free parking in the village and vicinity. A stage for the musical guests is set to emerge from the side of a box car at 2:45, launching the Christmas-themed show. Look for the ‘Spirit of Tomorrow’ car, part of a special Canada 150 train CP ran this past summer and now included with the Canadian version of the Holiday Train appearing in Finch.
CP also operates a second Holiday Train that travels through the U.S. after disembarking from Montreal. This year, both trains will visit a total of 171 North American communities, encouraging participants to reach into their pockets or their cupboards to donate money and food items to local agencies.
North Stormont Deputy Mayor Bill McGimpsey, who successfully lobbied CP to add Finch as the first Ontario stop on the Yuletide route, has been pleased with the success of the event ever since. “Canadian Pacific had a terrific idea from the onset,” said McGimpsey. “Our portion of Eastern Ontario is not immune to economic circumstances whereby some individuals or families may face temporary food shortages. I am delighted that the Holiday Train will make its way across the township for the third year in a row, and I encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the spectacular train and these amazing artists … and to be generous!”
Local officials collect a whopping cheque for Community Food Share during Holiday Train’s 2016 stop in Finch. Spectators are urged to be generous again in 2017.
Colin James plays Ottawa in this clip taken by Chesterville’s Birket Foster. The bluesman will be in Finch with the Holiday Train, Nov. 27.
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