The Annual CP Holiday Train Won't hit the Rails in 2020

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The annual Canadian Pacific Holiday Train has been forced to go virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands of residents in Windsor-Essex pack the Canadian Pacific Rail Yard off Caron Avenue for the event headlined by Santa every year.

But bringing old St. Nick on is North American tour isn't the sole purpose of the holiday train. It brings a large financial donation and tonnes of food for those in need over the holidays.

The President of the Windsor Food Bank Association isn't worried about losing donations. June Muir says the show will be missed, but CP Rail made it clear organizations will still get the donations they need.

"All the positive thoughts that it still going to take off and it's still going to do well; I'm certainly looking forward to seeing it online and will be taking part in watching myself," Muir says.

She says the thousands who usually attend the event in person every year usually bring a non-perishable food item donation. Muir's confident there will be a way to let people contribute virtually.

"We're going to do okay. I'm very positive that this can still happen and that we can still get the can goods dropped off or whatever is arranged during that time and it will be successful," she says. "I'm sure a lot of people will take part and still want to give. I'm sure there's going to be a way that you can give and we're certainly looking forward to it and will be there and do everything we can to support this."

The CP Holiday Train first launched in 1999 and has raised $17.8-million and collected 4.8-million pounds of food for local food banks in communities in both Canada and the U.S.

Live music is a part of the tradition, so CP will produce an online benefit concert at a soon to be determined date.

The company intends to resume the holiday train next fall.