Communities across Alberta will be down one more holiday tradition this year due to the pandemic. Canadian Pacific (CP) has officially announced that the 2020 Holiday Train won’t be making its way across the province spreading cheer this year.
The Holiday Train and its live concert performances have been cancelled this year due to the risk of gathering crowds and an inability to ensure social distancing for those watching the train come through their communities.
Since CP’s original launch of the Holiday Train in 1999, the train has travelled across Canada and the northern U.S. every year raising money and collecting donations for local food banks.
In the past 21 years, the train has raised $17.8 million and collected 4.8 million pounds of food for local food banks along CP’s network.
Although the Holiday Train may not be rolling through this year, CP will still donate to food banks in communities along its network and host a virtual concert.
CP says that this modified program will draw attention to food security issues while also ensuring that donations make it to the food banks that would ordinarily receive them; including those that host a Holiday Train event in alternating years.
“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 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!”
Part of the CP Holiday Train tradition has always been live music. To uphold that tradition CP is producing a virtual benefit concert, details of which are yet to be established—including the artists performing.
CP says that they intend to resume operating the annual train tour in 2021.