Canadian Pacific Holiday Train returns

Event raises money, brings in food donations for STEP


Sofia Seewald

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train made its way to St. Louis Park for the third year in a row 6 p.m. Dec. 12. The train stopped right outside of STEP, south of Lake Street, so people could bring in money and food donations while enjoying music at the event.

Sofia Seewald

While the Dec. 11 temperature dropped below zero, hundreds of people in the St. Louis Park community still gathered for an evening of free hot chocolate, music and holiday lights at the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, according to senior Sam McGurgan. 

“Even though it was really cold, everyone was still singing along with the performers and smiling and enjoying themselves,” McGurgan said. “I thought the singers were really talented and they made the event fun.”

According to Mayor Jake Spano, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train has been coming to St. Louis Park for three years to help fundraise for St. Louis Park Emergency Program (STEP).

“The most important part of (the event) was the giving. I know last year STEP raised about $20,000 off of this event, which is enough money to buy about 100,000 pounds of food,” Spano said. “The Canadian Pacific wrote a check for $7,000, which is the biggest check they write in the suburban communities, at least in my experience.”

The crowd is always a reminder to me that folks in St. Louis Park care about their neighbors and are willing to go out and donate and see a fun show.

— Jake Spano

Sophomore Olivia Brown said she liked the train’s activities and appreciated how the event’s proceeds benefit local organizations. 

“I really enjoy when the train comes in and (I like) all the animations on the side of the train,” Brown said. “I know that it raises money for STEP and also Sota Clothing brings a lot of people there, so I think it is helpful for those businesses.”

Spano said the community is able to come together and support each other through the Canadian Pacific event. 

“Despite the cold, we had a huge crowd. That is a great sign to me about how this community feels about STEP and how they feel about each other,” Spano said. “The crowd is always a reminder to me that folks in St. Louis Park care about their neighbors and are willing to go out and donate and see a fun show.”

In addition to seeing the holiday lights, McGurgan said she attended the Canadian Pacific Train to support community food shelves. 

“(I went) to show support for places like STEP that are trying to make a difference in the community. Also, the lights were cool and the shapes were fun and I had (free) hot cocoa at SLP Nutrition,” McGurgan said. 

Spano said he was able to give kids from Perspectives Inc. a short ride on the train as well. 

“I’m provided the opportunity to bring a couple of guests on the train to ride from Golden Valley to St. Louis Park, so I always bring kids from Perspectives,” Spano said.

Brown said the train also included several activities for young families.

“I think a bunch of (the) little kids like seeing the lights and the music. They have food trucks with mini donuts and (other food) which kids enjoy too,” Brown said. 

The Canadian Pacific Train will continue its journey in Minnesota heading to Glenwood, Alexandria and Detroit Lakes Dec. 13.