FINCH — Circle the calendar: Canadian country music star Terri Clark rolls into Finch aboard the CP Holiday Train later this month.
The Better Things to Do singer will be accompanied during the Nov. 28 whistle-stop show by singer-songwriters Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott.
CP’s Christmas-decorated and lit-up train is scheduled to make its fourth annual visit the North Stormont hamlet at 2:30 p.m. that Wednesday afternoon. The performance runs 2:45 to 3:15 p.m. from the side of a specially modified box car that opens out into stage.
For the 160-plus communities lucky enough to be chosen, arrival time is a take-or-leave-it proposition, falling as the train makes its way across the country while raising money for local food banks in the lead-up to Christmas. (Company officials do try to modify the schedule from year to year so that coveted evening dates don’t always happen in the same places.)
To date, Community Food Share — serving Dundas County and North Stormont — has taken in thousands of pounds of food and many thousands of dollars, thanks to the CP spectacle. Last year alone, the organization’s cash donations at the show hit $5,533 — including $4,000 from CP itself — plus over 1,000 pounds of collected food. The train company’s total combined contribution reached $9,000 last year.
In video below, rocker Colin James performs during the Holiday Train’s 2017 appearance in Finch.
Below, a highlight performance by Dallas Smith and the band Odds during the train’s 2016 Finch stop.
“On behalf of the 13,000-strong family here at CP, it is my great pleasure to kick-off the 20th tour of the CP Holiday Train,” said Keith Creel, CP’s President and Chief Executive Officer, late last month. “It is a privilege for CP to be able to run a program like this and connect with so many communities across our network. I want to personally thank each individual who has made a donation over the past 20 years – your collective efforts have made the Holiday Train a huge success for two decades.”
“We are thankful to all those who came out to support the local foodbank and those in need this holiday season, for this is what the CP Holiday Train is truly about.”
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CP operates two Holiday trains. The Finch version travels exclusively through Canada, leaving Montreal Nov. 25 and arriving in Port Coquitlan, B.C. on Dec. 18; the other one heads into the U.S. for part of a route that concludes in Weyburn, Sask., on Dec. 16.
The Juno-winning featured artist appearing in Finch this year happened to take the U.S. leg last year. Terri Clark reports having “a wonderful time” in 2017 and says she’s “so excited for this experience again, across my home country of Canada. Seeing the smiling faces, holiday spirit, and people giving back to their own communities is an amazing thing to be a part of and witness.”
“I am beyond excited to be a part of the 20th anniversary CP Holiday Train!” says Sierra Noble. “Come join us with your friends, family, and food bank donations while we warm our hearts together through song in the cold chill of winter!”
“I’ve had the honour of being a part of the CP Holiday Train for many years, yet this never gets old,” says Kelly Prescott. “In fact, it becomes more magical every year. To see firsthand the difference this program makes in each community is nothing short of incredible.”
Prescott also performed in Finch when the train first stopped in the community in 2015. Outgoing North Stormont Deputy Mayor Bill McGimpsey lobbied CP for over a year to get that milestone initial visit, making Finch the first Ontario stop of the CP Holiday Train.