CP Holiday Train makes its return to Lacombe, Blackfalds

The CP Holiday Train during its stop in Blackfalds last year. This year it makes its return to Lacombe and Blackfalds on Dec. 9. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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The Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train will once again bring a festive musical party and light show to central Alberta with stops in Lacombe and Blackfalds in early December.

Last week, the schedule was released for the holiday train’s 20th annual tour, and unlike the past few years, both communities will see the train visit on a Sunday afternoon, Dec. 9, allowing families with children in school to be in attendance.

Its first stop will be in Blackfalds at the Gregg St. tracks between Broadway Ave. and East Ave. at 12:45 p.m., followed by a 2 p.m. stop in Lacombe at the Len Thompson Fish Pond.

As always, in the spirit of the season they’ll be spreading an additional kind of cheer through the collection of food and donations and community food banks across both Canada and the U.S. Since 1999, when the CP Holiday Train first began its annual journey across the country, more than $14.5 million and 4.3 million pounds of food has been raised for food banks in each of the communities the train makes stops at.

“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 CP President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel, as per a release issued Wednesday. “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.”

This year, CP is placing a focus on those making food donations to donate “heart healthy” food as they believe “everyone should have access to nutritious food, regardless of circumstances.” It aligns with their “CP Has Heart” program which aims to improve the heart health of people across North America, which has raised over $15 million for cardiac care and research.

“We are delighted to see the CP Holiday Train travelling across the country again supporting food banks for the 20th year in a row,” said Food Banks Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. “The role that CP plays goes beyond collecting food and raising funds, as they also help Food Banks Canada transport food across the country through our National Food Sharing System. For that we are truly grateful.”

The tour will officially begin Nov. 25 in Montreal, and will stop in a total of 164 communities.

Alberta-born country artist Terri Clark will be joined by Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott as the artists performing Dec. 9 in Lacombe, Blackfalds and nearby Ponoka.

“I had such a wonderful time on the US leg of the CP Holiday Train last year, and I’m so excited for  this experience again, across my home country of Canada,” said Clark.

“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.”

In celebration of their 20th anniversary, CP will also release 20 festive songs by the artists that have toured with the train over the past two decades in an “advent calendar of holiday hits.” Starting Nov. 25, people are invited to visit the CP Holiday Train playlist on Spotify for a free song to stream, and those with premium accounts will be able to download those songs.

A photo contest will also take place, and attendees of the CP Holiday Train are invited to take and share photos to a $1,000 donation to their local food bank and a trip aboard the 2019 CP Holiday Train. Details will be available on Facebook at facebook.com/HolidayTrain.

For the full schedule and more details on the CP Holiday Train, visit https://www.cpr.ca/holiday-train.