"It is our honour to continue to donate to communities across our network this year, even if the train itself will not run."
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is the latest casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the train’s annual trip across the CP system in Canada and the U.S. will be replaced by donations to food banks in communities along its network, as well as an online concert.
The railroad says the 2020 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.
Live music has always been part of the CP Holiday Train tradition, with country singers Terri Clark and Dallas Smith playing to crowds last year. To maintain that tradition, CP will produce a benefit concert, with details to be announced later.
In the 21 years since CP launched the Holiday Train, it raised $17.8 million and collected 4.8 million pounds of food for local food banks in communities served by the railroad.
CP intends to resume operating the annual train tour in 2021.
“COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves,” CP President and CEO Keith Creel said in a press release. “It is our honor 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!”