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The 'Holiday' Train

Once again, the Covid pandemic has restricted the ability of the CPR to bring their Holiday Train through Cochrane. The train stops at many towns and cities on its travels and besides brightly decorated cars, the musical groups and acts bring people together. Local food banks raise money because of its presence. All in all, a good event.

The Holiday Train will be a virtual event this year; however, I couldn’t help but cast my mind back to when we, with our two year old boy, got on the CPR Christmas Train in Calgary for a short run through the sidings and rail connections within Calgary’s city limits.

Back then it was still called the Christmas Train. We just thought ‘holidays’ came with Christmas, but didn’t actually define what Christmas was. However, given our blended society these days I presume there is no option but to call it something like the Holiday Train. To me, that term sounds pretty flat for such a special time of the year. After all, we even take ‘holidays’ in the summer to travel and relax, but there are no special celebrations or blockbuster sales associated with that. In retirement, I have a hard time even using the word holiday because every day is a holiday.

If it is hard for many to accept ‘Christmas’ holidays, or ‘Christmas’ train, then I wish we could come up with a better definition than ‘Holiday’ to define this time of the year. Why not consider some things that are common to all. For example, all northern hemisphere cultures have been celebrating this time of the year for a long time, a time when the sun reaches its lowest point and renewal begins. Also, this time of year seems to bring out the community-care sense in people and we tend to share more. I’m sure there are other things unique to this time of the year. Surely we can find something better to define it other than just ‘holiday’

Meeting Santa Claus for the first time.

Back to our old Christmas Train days in Calgary. At that event, families with young children would get on the train and spend about two hours being entertained by singers, magicians, and, of course, Santa Claus, while the train was moving around Calgary. It was all rather neat and I’m glad we were here when the CPR was doing such things. As you can see from my picture this week, our young son was quite taken with the whole thing.



  • The other day we saw one of our town buses displaying the following on its electronic sign at the front of the bus:


Is this an indication of problems with our schools' curriculum, or is it a result of the constant use of texting and Tweets, where spelling and grammar seem to be of secondary or tertiary interest….that is to say, does it mean people can't be bothered.

  • The origin of the word holiday is the Old English hāligdæg which means ‘holy day’. Hmmmm…..

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