December 7, 2011 — The day that had 25 hours! Today was definitely my favourite day on-board the CP Holiday Train. I love to be busy, and with SIX stops, we were definitely busy.
Natalie Thomas, reporter
I don't want to take anything away from the scenery, because it was absolutely spectacular: from the rolling hills to the Cypress Hills. But the true highlight of the day was meeting thousands of people across Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The day started very early, with a concert just after 8 a.m. in Mortlach. Windchill values were around -14 during the show, so the cold woke us all up quickly!
By the way, did I mention everyone on the train can always hear me coming? I have been wearing snow pants for two days, and every time I take a step you can hear my snow pants swish. Hilarious! I feel like I'm eight again!
Okay - back to the train stops. From Mortlach, we went to Swift Current. The Swift Current Broncos (WHL) let me borrow a jersey to wear during the concert. It was awesome. A TWN viewer named Jerry came to say hello and brought me a hat as a token of my time in Swift Current. Thanks, Jerry. I also had the chance to speak with Deputy Mayor Denis Perrault. We had a great conversation about Saskatchewan being a “hidden gem.” Denis also mentioned that the Chinook winds in the area are great because they warm up temperatures in the winter - but the winds aren't great for your golf game.
Our clocks went back one hour as we crossed into Alberta. (Hence our 25 hour day.) I was allowed the extremely rare experience of riding in the lead locomotive with the conductor and engineer!
It was AMAZING to experience the train from up there, and it provided a great view of Medicine Hat as we arrived. I spoke with Mayor Norm Boucher about Medicine Hat being the sunniest city in Canada (it's true - they see 2,512 hours of sun per year). I also met a little boy who loves TWN. His dad asked if his son could get a picture with me because his son is such a huge fan of dancing to our local forecast music. He was so cute that I just had to give him my only TWN ball cap. It was worth it! I also got to wear another WHL jersey - this time courtesy of the Medicine Hat Tigers.
I was blown away by the folks in Tilley because they had so much energy and passion. For a small community, they packed a punch. And they were brave, too, because by the time the concert began, windchill values had dipped to -20.
Our last stop was in Brooks, where one TWN fan named Brandon gave me a couple of Brooks toques. Thanks, Brandon. I was lucky enough to speak to Mayor Martin Shields about Brooks being the most DIVERSE community in Canada. But what I remember most about the people of Brooks was how smart they are: they created fires for people to huddle around and keep warm during the concert. Good move, Brooks. Well done.
Thanks to everyone who braved the cold today to come out and see the Holiday Train.
The train takes a break on Thursday, and will resume in Calgary Friday.