Canadian Pacific (CP) will receive the first Gary Slaight Humanitarian Award from the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) for its annual holiday train program, which raises food, money and awareness for people who struggle with hunger.
The CCMA Board of Directors selected CP’s program—“North America’s largest rolling food bank fundraiser”—in honor of its service to local communities across the railroad’s network. Since its establishment in 1999, the CP Holiday Train program has raised more than C$19.4 million and 4.9 million pounds of food.
The train traditionally makes stops in more than 170 communities, encouraging them to donate food or money to support local food banks in exchange for attendance to a free concert. The program has featured performances by Terri Clark, Jim Cuddy, Dallas Smith, The Moffatts, Great Big Sea, Patricia Conroy, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Reid, and Sarah McLachlan, among others. Serena Ryder and The Trews headlined the 2020 event, which was virtual due to the pandemic and did not include the special train.
The 2021 Gary Slaight Music Humanitarian Award will be presented during CCMA’s Country Music Week 2021 in London, Ontario, to be held Nov. 26-29.
“We feel so privileged to be able to highlight the incredible work that Canadian Pacific does year-round to make this massive annual fundraiser possible,” CCMA President Amy Jeninga said. “Understanding the increased need for food banks across North America, we couldn’t think of a more deserving initiative—one that helps communities feed themselves through generosity and brings people together over a shared love of music. Congratulations to everyone at CP for this very deserved accolade.”
“Our entire CP family is deeply honored to receive the Gary Slaight Music Humanitarian Award,” CP President and CEO Keith Creel said. “Since 1999, the CP Holiday Train program has helped raise funds and donations for food banks throughout North America. Every year, this beautifully illuminated train travels across Canada and the U.S., stopping in communities along our network and bringing people together in the spirit of celebration and giving. We love being a part of these communities, and we are proud to support local food banks along the way.”
“I’d like to thank the CCMA for naming the Humanitarian Award in my honor and want to congratulate the CP Holiday Train as its first recipient,” said Gary Slaight, President and CEO of Slaight Communication Inc. “The CP Holiday Train champions two causes, which I am very passionate about: helping those in our communities in times of need as well as supporting and promoting Canadian Artists and their music. I look forward to seeing their campaign come to life this year.”
Through the Slaight Family Foundation, Slaight has supported a variety of humanitarian and cultural causes, and invests in media and entertainment ventures, through both Slaight Communications and Slaight Music, a division launched in 2009 with a mandate to invest, nurture and develop Canadian artists.
Planning for the 2021 CP Holiday Train program is under way.