CP Holiday Train benefits nearly half a million

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The 17th year of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train program “saw tremendous crowds, generous donations and big smiles as it etched its way across Canada and the northern U.S.,” according to CP. “With results continuing to roll in, the 2015 edition of the Holiday Train is on track to raise more than $1.4 million and more than 300,000 pounds of food for food banks and food shelves.”

Since its start in 1999, the CP Holiday Train has now helped to raise more than C$12 million and 3.9 million pounds of food for local food banks, “shining a light on the important role food banks play in a healthy community,” CP said. “This year saw record crowds in many communities and estimated overall attendance of 450,000 people over the 23 days. Again this year, people attending Holiday Train events were encouraged to think about healthy options when donating food. Heart health education and awareness is a tenet of CP’s community investment program, CP Has Heart, which focuses on improving the heart health of men, women and children in communities across North America.”

“The Holiday Train is all about neighbors helping neighbors, and this year saw remarkable support for this important cause,” said CP Chief Executive Officer Hunter Harrison. “Each year, we are humbled by the good work local food banks do in helping those in need in their communities. We are proud that we can help them deliver on that mission.”

“Every year, CP’s train of lights provides a platform to speak about the needs of North American food banks. This year they helped drive the message home not only about ongoing needs, but the ability for individuals to raise levels of health in their community by reaching in their cupboards for healthy donations,” said Food Banks Canada Executive Director Katharine Schmidt.

Crowds at Holiday Train events were entertained by notable music stars, among them Wes Mack, Kira Isabella, Doc Walker, Kelly Prescott, Jim Cuddy, Devin Cuddy and Chic Gamine. “We are so honored to once again be part of a magical program that brings communities together to raise money for local food banks,” said Chris Thorsteinson of Doc Walker. “You don’t realize how much towns use food banks and how important it is to support them around this time of year until you travel across the country learning about the need.”

“The Holiday Train’s social media following, which now boasts more than 150,000 followers, was once again lively with thousands of event attendees sharing photos of how they captured the spirit,” CP noted. “One particular photographer, Neil Zeller, caught the attention of an international audience with his photo of the train appearing to float in the sky as it crossed the Lethbridge High Level Bridge in the fog (above), with many commenting that it must be Santa’s sleigh.”

To continue to support the Holiday Train and receive updates for next year’s program, visit it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @CPHolidaytrain #CPHolidayTrain. For additional information, photos, route map and downloadable pictures of the two trains, visit www.cpr.ca/holiday-train. For social media, go to Facebook/HolidayTrain, Twitter @CPHolidayTrain, and Instagram @CPHolidayTrain. To wrap up 2015, CP has released of a behind-the-scenes documentary, chronicling what is required to run the program each year. Watch “All aboard: CP Holiday Train“ online and follow CP’s social media channels for details on when and where the documentary will air.

CP’s annual Holiday Train program is a rolling fundraising event that travels across Canada and the U.S. raising money, food, and awareness for food banks and hunger issues, hosting free holiday concerts along the way. Since 1999 the program has raised more than C$12 million and 3.9 million pounds of food. Each Holiday Train is about 1,000 feet in length with 14 railcars decorated with hundreds of thousands of technology-leading LED lights and a modified boxcar that has been turned into a traveling stage for performers.