Holiday Train arrives - The CP Holiday Train pulled into the rail yard at Indian Head after a stop in Broadview on Dec. 5 and spectators enjoyed performances by Tenille Townes, a country singer from Alberta and Aysanbee, a singer-songwriter from the Sandy Lake First Nation. A $4,000 donation to the local food bank was also made.

The crowd cheered and wide-eyed children shouted in delight as the CP Holiday Train pulled up to the rail yard on North Railway Avenue near Otterloo Street in Indian Head on December 5.
Local residents were excited to be part of the Holiday Train’s first cross-country tour since 2019. In addition to providing holiday entertainment, it serves as a campaign to raise support for food banks in communities along the CP Rail network.
“The Holiday Train is all about families and communities coming together to celebrate the season and help those in need,” Keith Creel, CP’s President and CEO, said in a press release. “We are excited to be back out on the rails and in our communities, taking these beautiful trains across our network and sharing the joy that comes with gathering in the spirit of giving.”
Efforts to support food banks are particularly important this year as families struggle to cope with high grocery costs. This fall the University of Saskatchewan’s Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research (CHASR) conducted a survey on food security. The study showed that more people in the Prairie provinces were accessing food banks than any-where else in Canada.
“The Prairies were quite a lot higher, at 10.3 per cent, versus the next lowest, British Columbia, at five per cent,” said Dr. Jessica McCutcheon (PhD), survey research manager at CHASR.
This trend is reflected on a local level as the Indian Head Food Hamper Committee reports that it has responded to more than 80 requests for help this year, compared with only 13 in 2021.
When the Holiday Train stopped in Indian Head on Monday, a CP Rail representative presented the Indian Head Ecumenical Food Hamper Committee with a $4,000 donation, which was gratefully accepted by committee member Linda Jinks, Mayor Steven Cole and MLA Don McMorris. RCMP from the nearby detachment assisted the local committee with collecting additional donations from people who came to see the decorated train.
Along with providing an opportunity to support the food bank, the Holiday Train brought musical entertainment. Aysanabee, an Oji-Cree singer-songwriter from the Sandy Lake First Nation, and country musician Tenille Townes delighted the audience with their performance. The weather was sunny but bitterly cold so everyone was dressed in his or her warmest winter gear and, although mittens muffled the sound, they showed their appreciation by enthusiastic applause.
The train had stopped in Broadview earlier on Monday afternoon; the crowd there was similarly canvased for food bank support and CP Rail provided a donation to the food bank in that community as well. After its stop in Indian Head, the Holiday Train continued to Qu’Appelle and Regina. The tour is scheduled to conclude in Port Coquitlam, BC on December 18.

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