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Ananaya Singh, 7 of Hopkins, looks at a lighted boxcar of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train at the Golden Hills railroad crossing in Golden Valley in 2019.

Canadian Pacific has announced its annual Holiday Train will be virtual for a second year. The train, a December spectacle outfitted with hundreds of thousands of LED lights, typically makes stops in Golden Valley and St. Louis Park, among 187 other cities in the U.S. and Canada. At each stop, a live band performed holiday tunes from a boxcar, and visitors are encouraged to make monetary or food donations to local food shelves.

Previously, the Golden Valley stop raised donations for PRISM, and STEP benefited from donations at the St. Louis Park stop. Directors from both nonprofits said that each event routinely drew thousands of dollars in donations per stop, including a donation from Canadian Pacific itself.

Last year, the train remained in its depot for the winter season to limit would-be visitors from contracting the COVID-19. Instead of an in-person event, Canadian Pacific hosted a virtual concert and made donations to food shelves that typically benefited from the Holiday Train stops.

Holiday Train planners confirmed in October that this year’s events will once again include a virtual concert and donations to food shelves. Donations will also be given to those food banks that are visited by the train in alternating years.

“The spirit of the Holiday Train is about giving generously and inspiring those around us to give as well,” Canadian Pacific President and CEO Keith Creel said. “While we are disappointed we again cannot bring the Holiday Train to communities, we are honored to run a virtual program and continue to support communities and food banks across our network as they work to address food insecurity in North America.”

The holiday train tradition began in 1999. In its first 21 years, the train raised $17.8 million and collected 4.8 million pounds of food for local food banks in communities along Canadian Pacific’s network.

For more information, visit cpr.ca/holidaytrain.

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