FINCH — This week would have seen the annual visit by the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train in Finch. But in line with everything else during this pandemic year, it’s off the rails in 2020.
CP announced earlier this fall that neither of its two Holiday Trains will run in 2020, though the company still plans to donate to food banks in communities along its network as well as host a virtual concert in lieu of the regular tour.
“The modified program will draw attention to food security issues, while ensuring donations go to all food banks that would ordinarily receive them, including those that typically host a Holiday Train event in alternating years,” the company says.
“COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves,” said CP President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel. “It is our honour to continue to donate to communities across our network this year, even if the train itself will not run. The spirit of the Holiday Train program and the Christmas spirit will carry on this year through our virtual concert. We will have the Holiday Train rolling again spreading Christmas cheer as soon as it’s safe to do so!”
CP says it intends to resume operating the Holiday Train next Christmas season.
The company launched the Holiday Train in 1999, and every year since it has traveled across Canada and the northern U.S. raising money, collecting food and drawing attention to the important work of local food banks. In its first 21 years, the train has raised $17.8 million and collected 4.8 million pounds of food for local food banks in communities along CP’s network.
Live music has always been part of the CP Holiday Train tradition. To maintain that tradition, CP will produce a benefit concert, details of which have yet to be announced.
Local area food bank Community Food Share has collected several thousand dollars at each of the Holiday Train’s previous five appearances in Finch. CP made its first Finch stop in 2015 after extensive lobbying by North Stormont’s then-Deputy Mayor Bill McGimpsey.