The Christmas season calls for good cheer, and CP Rail and the City of Yorkton are bringing a train filled with it. The CP Holiday Train is coming to the city on Dec. 4, and bringing with it a major boost to the local Salvation Army Food Bank.
The star of the show is naturally the Holiday Train itself, which will roll into the city at 12:05, with a free concert performance by Madeline Merlo and Scott Helman. It will be parked at Livingstone St. and 4th Ave. South for the concert.
In Yorkton, there will be events surrounding the train’s arrival. Hot dogs and hot chocolate will be available at the event, with the Salvation Army cooking hot dogs, with the help of YBID and Save-On Foods. Connected to the train’s overall goal of helping out food banks across the country, attendees will be encouraged to bring a donation of food to the food bank to the concert. Yorkton Hyundai will be handling all transportation for food donations as part of their Pack the Palisade food drive. They hope that the vehicles will be full by the end of the day. Cloud Nine Coaches will handle transportation of sponsors and contest winners to Bredenbury to ride the train.
“Without the community support, we could not do this,” said Randy Goulden with Tourism Yorkton.
The festivities will continue at the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery with a film presentation by the Yorkton Film Festival, playing the Rocky Mountain Express at 2:30 p.m. Goulden said it’s a chance to come in, warm up, and learn a bit about the history of rail in Canada.
Goulden said that the best part of the CP Holiday Train is that it brings people to downtown Yorkton, shopping at local businesses, and seeing all of the things the city has to offer.
The train stopped in the city for the first time in 2017, and Goulden said that it was a challenge to get it to make a Yorkton stop and on the two-year cycle. The problem? There is not actually a railway siding in the city, making it difficult to stop here. It also disrupts rail traffic in the area, as it not only takes up the CP Rail line, but also blocks the CN line when in town. Goulden said that they fought to get the CP Holiday Train into the city, and work out the logistical problems that it comes with, because they wanted to bring people to the city’s downtown and they want to support the Salvation Army Food Bank in the city.
“We know that there are always families in need, and the Salvation Army does such a wonderful job making sure there are things to eat and, at this time of year, toys for the children to receive under the Christmas tree. I think that’s very important, because we’re a population here in Saskatchewan of sharing what we have with people here who may not be as fortunate.”
Lieutenant Samuel Tim with the Yorkton Salvation Army said that they are grateful for the opportunity to partner on the project, and are looking forward to making sure people are well-fed and comfortable for the concert.
The 2017 event made a major impact to the Food Bank, both with a financial contribution from CP Rail and all of the food donated, and Tim said the community support allowed them to do more than they could otherwise.
As the Salvation Army prepares for the event, Tim said that their goal is to make sure there’s a Christmas for everyone in the community, with food and toys for families in Yorkton. The CP Holiday Train is one event that will help them bring joy on Christmas.
“There’s always joy. You can recall when you were young, and you rushed down to unwrap your gifts and toys. That’s why we want to make sure Christmas comes for everyone in the community.”