Terri Clark rides the CP Holiday Train

Each year the CP Holiday Train, beautifully bedecked in colourful lights, travels across Canada and the US delivering joy, hope — and music — while collecting donations for food banks in the communities along its route. This year Canadian Pacific (CP) celebrates the twentieth year of this magical event, which is just part of CP’s ongoing, year-round support of Food Banks Canada’s National Food Sharing System.

For its 2018 journey, the CP Holiday Train will be honored by a very special musical guest — Canada’s own Terri Clark. Clark, who now divides her time between Nashville and Ontario, grew up in Medicine Hat, Alberta. She was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in September of this year.

Although this is Terri’s first time on the CP Holiday Train in Canada, she did participate in the US route last year, an experience that she says was incredibly positive and joyful.

“The CP Holiday Train is all about giving, not getting. To me, it exemplifies the old-fashioned spirit of holiday giving that you see in the movies. It’s what the holidays should be about. And I’m sure it lasts a long time after the train moves on.”

At each stop, CP welcomes donations of heart healthy, non-perishable foods such as canned meat and fish, peanut butter, nuts, grain products and canned fruit and vegetables, especially reduced sodium types. (Check with your local food bank before coming out, to see what’s on their “most wanted” list!)

Food banks all across Canada help more than 850,000 people each month, and more than one-third of them are children and youth. And, although events such as the CP Holiday Train are only able to collect non-perishable items for food safety reasons, more than 40% of the foods provided by food banks are fresh, frozen or perishable.

It’s a cause close to Terri’s own heart. The daughter of a single mother of four, she remembers a period when she was young and the family struggled to get by on her mom’s salary. Terri says she is proud to participate in an event that supports so many people who just need a little help to get back on their feet.

“I was blown away with CP and what they do — donating, bringing people together, spreading holiday cheer. As a performer, there are so many wonderful moments. When you pull in, people are holding up signs and you can see how appreciative they are. There are many fans who live in small communities that don’t get live music, or who can’t afford to travel to a show and buy tickets. We’re bringing music to people who don’t usually get to enjoy it live in their backyards.”

But most special of all, are the children.

“When the train shows up it’s truly magical. When you see the kids’ faces, it’s heartwarming. They’re so excited, you would think Santa Claus was standing in front of them. And when we sing some of the classic songs, like Run, Run Rudolph, they sing along. They’re right in the moment. It’s so amazing to see.”

Clark will perform on the CP Holiday Train as it travels across Canada beginning on November 25 in Montreal, to Alberta, where she will hop off before it continues on to its final show in Port Coquitlam on December 18, 2018.

Check for the CP Holiday Train stop nearest you and join in the festive spirit of music and the joy of giving.