A pair of critically acclaimed Canadian musicians is set to headline the Tri-Cities in marking the return to the rails for a popular seasonal fundraiser.
Canadian Pacific Railway's (CP) Holiday Train will be chugging all the live long day across the continent in both Canada and the U.S. following a two-year virtual hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Port Moody and Port Coquitlam are two of the stops scheduled on the train's 24th annual Canadian ride — both on Dec. 18.
And Juno-nominated artists MacKenzie Porter and Derik John Baker (aka Virginia to Vegas) are set to serenade local residents with their hit songs — and potentially renditions of holiday favourites — when they visit the region.
Meet the demand
While the shows are free to attend, CP is encouraging interested participants to donate cash or a non-perishable food item.
All are set to be earmarked for SHARE Family and Community Services and its food bank, which CEO Claire MacLean admits has been some struggle with not enough stock to meet the demand.
In an earlier interview with the Tri-City News, she said clients have grown by 50 per cent amidst rising costs for food.
Currently, SHARE feeds 1,700 people a month, and still growing as more are added to the client list each week, including families trying to make ends meet during the current inflationary spiral.
"The need is immense. We're seeing new registrants each week and it's not slowing down at all," added MacLean.
CP stated cash donations can also go further to help those in need as local non-profits already buy food at a discount.
Meet the musicians
Porter is a double-gold and platinum country artist originally from Medicine Hat, Alta.
Though she only has two full albums, she's topped the Canadian Country Music chart four times in as many years with hit singles like "These Days," "About You" and "Seeing Other People."
Those songs, released between 2018 and 2020, helped the 32-year-old musician become the first female artist in more than 20 years to have three consecutive No. 1 singles on Canadian country radio.
Porter has opened for legendary musicians and bands like Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney, Dallas Smith and Trooper.
Her second album, Drinking Songs: The Collection, was nominated for the Juno Country Album of the Year award in 2021.
Porter has also done a duet with Virginia to Vegas entitled "This Sucks" (see video below) from September 2021 that reached as high as 26th on the Canadian Billboard chart.
Virginia to Vegas (Baker) is based out of Toronto, but has been active on the Canadian and American charts since debuting in 2013.
He's a four-time platinum-certified artist best known for indie-pop choruses and "sticky electronic melodies," according to his CP Holiday Train profile with hits that include:
- "We Are Stars" (with Alyssa Reid)
- "Lights Out"
- "Just Friends"
- Reached as high third on the Canadian Top 100 chart
Baker was nominated at the 2018 Junos for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, and won a trophy of the same name in 2015 at the Canadian Radio Music Awards.
He and Porter's first stop will be behind Port Moody Recreation Complex (300 Ioco Rd.), arriving at 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 18.
The train will roll them in to Port Coquitlam for 6:15 p.m. to close out the night.
For more information, interested residents can visit the CP Holiday Train's website.
- with files from Diane Strandberg ,Tri-City News