A True Northern Tradition: The CP Holiday Train

Written by: Abigail Kinder
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is a 23-year-long tradition that brings joy (and food) to people in over 160 cities in Canada and the northern United States each year. Attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable or monetary donations to the free event to benefit the food pantries of the local community.

One of the greatest things about living in a small, rural town during the holidays is that there is no lack of meaningful traditions. Each year, Minot’s Downtown Open House attracts thousands of people looking to make Christmas memories that can be passed down for generations to come. If you come from up North, you may have heard about another tradition that
has enchanted hundreds of thousands of people from British Columbia to Maine for the last 23 years: the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train.


23 Years of Giving Back
In 1999, Canadian Pacific Railway created a Christmas fundraiser for the food banks in the communities they operated out of in Canada and the United States, and thus the Holiday Train was born. Through this special holiday tradition, Canadian Pacific has gathered over 3 million pounds of food and over $9 million for Canadian and American food banks, as well as brought the Christmas spirit to over 168 northern-tier towns and a few lucky midwestern participants. It travels over 100,000 miles
for three weeks each season, accompanied by musical guests from all over.
The 14 rail carriage Holiday Train is meticulously decorated in colorful Christmas lights and at each stop along the way, the railcars open up to reveal a stage where the musicians perform a free concert. All ages can attend the event for free, but CPR encourages attendees to get in the “giving spirit” and bring nonperishable food or monetary donations that will benefit the local community’s food bank.


You Don’t Want to Miss This
Are you new to North Dakota or the small town holiday celebrations? You do not want to miss out on this unique experience. The Train will arrive in Minot on Dec. 17, 2022, at approximately 6:30p.m. The actual event will go from 6:45 to 7:15 p.m. at the Main Street N railway crossing in downtown Minot, just past 10 North Main and the Depot. This year, folk rock singer Alan Doyle and country singer Kelly Prescott will perform.


If you are unable to make it to downtown Minot for the show (and it will be busy), cozy up at home and stream the concert on Facebook, YouTube or on the Canadian Pacific Website, cpr.ca

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