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It’s a relatively new traditional as those things go. But in a very short time the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train has become an important rite of the Christmas season.

Since 1999, ​​​​​​​​​​ the CP Holiday Train has dressed up for the season, ready to support communities and raise awareness​ of hunger-related issues.

As in years past, two trains will operate coast-to-coast under the Holiday Train banner, with approximately 150 shows held in November and December. The train that operates primarily through the U.S. launched in the Montreal area on Nov. 25, while the all-Canada train’s first shows started a day later, also in Montreal. The U.S. train will complete its final shows in Saskatchewan on Dec. 15, and the final show of the tour will take place Dec. 17 at Port Coquitlam, B.C.

Attendees at train events are encouraged to bring healthy, nutritious food items to shows. Every pound of food and dollar raised at each stop stays with the local food bank to help feed those in need in that community.

First-time stops this year include Olds, Alberta and Canoe, B.C.​​

Since its start in 1999, the CP Holiday Train has helped collect 3.9 million pounds of food for local food banks, and more than $12 million in cash donations. In addition to raising money and awareness of food shelfs, the holiday train provides entertainment at each stop for visitors.

Here is a complete schedule of the trains’ travel.

And, here is a cool video by CP, a behind-the-scenes documentary, chronicling what is required to run the program each year.

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