This holiday tradition is cancelled for the first time in 21 years due to COVID-19
The beloved Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train will not be travelling across Canada for the 2020 season thanks to the spread of COVID-19.
On Thursday, organizers of the annual event — which saw the train pull in to various communities across the country to raise money for local food banks — announced that it will not be happening this winter in light of the global pandemic.
Instead, they have decided Canadian Pacific (CP) will donate to community food banks in its network and host virtual concerts instead.
"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 in a press release.
"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. We will have the Holiday Train rolling again spreading Christmas cheer as soon as it's safe to do so!"
CP launched the Holiday Train back in 1999 to collect food and raise awareness for local food banks. In its 21 years, the program has raised $17.8 million and 4.8 million pounds of food.
I've heard the expected news that the 2020 #CPHolidayTrain is cancelled (and curiously its Twitter account is gone).— Warren Schlote (@WSchlote) September 25, 2020
It's sad that my favourite tradition of chasing after it with friends every year has met an abrupt end. Here's some 2018 memories from our fifth annual event. pic.twitter.com/7uGU7Vvg7Q
"We are very excited that CP has chosen a safe way to keep the spirit of the CP Holiday Train rolling in support of local food banks like ours in these challenging times," added Calgary Food Bank President and CEO James McAra in the press release.
"The need for food bank services has risen substantially over the course of this year and heading into the high-demand winter months. We hope CP's concert will prompt the train's supporters to give as generously as they’re able."
While details of the virtual concerts have yet to be released, CP said that it intends to resume the train tour in 2021.
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