COVID-19 derails CP Holiday Train

Hundreds gather in Windsor to watch as the CP Holiday Train pulls in. (Photo by Jason Viau)

Annual traditions to boost holiday cheer will be more virtual this year as the CP Holiday Train will not travel across the country.

Due to circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Pacific (CP) will be hosting a virtual concert for the 2020 Holiday Train instead of travelling to different communities.

However, CP announced it will still donate to various food banks in communities that would have ordinarily received them, which includes those that have hosted the Holiday Train 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 honour 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.”

The hope is to have the CP Holiday Train moving again by 2021.

The Holiday Train makes regular stops in London and Windsor and over the last two years, has made stops in Chatham. The City of London recently announced that Santa Claus parades will also not proceed this year due to the pandemic.

Since 1999, the CP Holiday Train has travelled across Canada and the northern U.S. to raise money and non-perishable items for food banks in host communities. Over the years, the Holiday Train has raised $17.8 million and collected 4.8 million pounds of food.

Although a virtual concert will be held, details at this point are unknown but are expected to be “announced when they’re available.”