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CP Holiday Train rolls through central Alberta

Food banks supported through 24th year of the cross-country tour
The CP Holiday train rolled into Blackfalds Thursday afternoon. The tour also made stops in Lacombe, Ponoka, Wetaskiwin and Millet. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

The CP Holiday Train has made its return to central Alberta.

Tenille Townes and Aysanabee performed as the CP Holiday Train made a stop in Blackfalds on Thursday afternoon before continuing on to Lacombe, Ponoka, Wetaskiwin and Millet.

This is the 24th year the CP Holiday Train has travelled across Canada and parts of the United States, to help raise money and awareness for local food banks, in addition to providing free musical performances.

The Blackfalds Food Bank received a $3,500 cheque during the stop.

“It’s certainly very appreciated at this time,” said Chris Keim, Blackfalds Food Bank executive director.

“In some of our programs over the past year, we’ve seen almost a 100 per cent increase. This is desperately a need that is continues to increase. With inflation continued to going up, I don’t imagine it’s going to get any easier.”

It was great to see a few hundred members of the community come to see the train, Keim added.

“It’s great to have the holiday train back. Obviously it’s great to get the donation, but it’s nice for the town and community to have an event like this again after COVID. It’s great to see everyone out here,” he said.

Blackfalds Mayor Jamie Hoover spoke during the CP Holiday Train’s stop in town.

“For me, being a resident for the last 10 years in Blackfalds, this is one of the most exciting events leading up to Christmas,” he said to the crowd.

“I couldn’t be happier that they’re back again, supporting the food bank and giving a great show to the community. I look forward to seeing everybody coming out every single year.”

This was a return to the traditional CP Holiday Train that people expect to see. The 2020 and 2021 tours instead featured virtual concerts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m grateful to the CP team members who adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver two exceptional virtual Holiday Train shows and to all those who continued to donate while we kept community members safe,” said CP president and CEO Keith Creel said in a press release issued in October.

“The Holiday Train is all about families and communities coming together to celebrate the season and help those in need. We are excited to be back out on the rails and in our communities, taking these two beautiful trains across our network and sharing the joy that comes with gathering in the spirit of giving.”

The CP Holiday Train will return to central Alberta this Saturday with the following stops:

  • Innisfail at 1:15 p.m. at the 52 Avenue and 50 Street crossing
  • Olds at 2:45 p.m. at 50 Street Level crossing
  • Didsbury at 4:05 p.m. at CP Mainline (20 Street and 18 Avenue)

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Musician Tenille Townes performs as the CP Holiday train makes a stop in Blackfalds on Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Musician Tenille Townes performs as the CP Holiday train makes a stop in Blackfalds on Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Blackfalds Mayor Jamie Hoover speaks as the CP Holiday train makes a stop in the central Alberta town on Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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