The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train was greeted by hundreds of Moose Javians as it rolled in to the Friendly City on Friday night.
The Holiday Train is an annual tradition run by Canadian Pacific across their railway network in the United States and Canada. It stops in more than 150 communities and promotes local food banks and features musical performances.
This year, the Holiday Train featured the award-winning country band Doc Walker as their marquee act.
“This is very big, not only for the food drive but also for hunger awareness across Canada,” said Terri Smith, manager of the Moose Jaw Food Bank. “It lets people know that there are those out there who need help, whether it’s their neighbour, coworker or friend.”
The Holiday Train made its first run in 1999 and has raised more than $6 million and almost 3 million pounds of food.
Last year, it raised 5,400 pounds of food in the Moose Jaw community with the contributions of several community businesses including the Co-Op and CPR itself, Smith said.
This year, not even a bitter cold night could prevent a large crowd of over 100 people from turning out.
“Especially when it’s cold like this, it’s nice to see such a big turnout,” said Smith.
Moose Jaw has been a supportive community for the Holiday Train for some time, said Mayor Deb Higgins.
“Moose Jaw has a reputation of coming out and supporting events like this, and we’re expecting that tonight, even though it’s pretty chilly, I’m sure we’re going to have a good crowd out to support the Holiday Train,” she said.
“It just raises the issue of people who are in need this time of year, and who could use a little bit of support, and the community just rises to the cause each year. It’s wonderful.”
But for the community’s youngest members, like Malaki Busta, it’s simply about seeing the train.
“I really want to see a train, even though I have them passing my house every day,” she said.