Thursday, June 15, 2006


I see them every morning, shambling about, eyes glazed and bleary. They are desperate people, people in need of a fix.

And “Tim” gives it to them.

They hand over their precious nickels and dimes, their tear-soaked, crumpled wads of cash, and they get a dose of the drug that allows them to function for a few more hours.

Yes, those Canajans sure love their Tim Hortons coffee.

Tim Hortons
Canajan Crack.

Tim Hortons is the Canadian equivalent to Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks, all rolled up into a potent cultural and social force. A Canada without Tim Hortons would be like a United States without McDonald’s. Or an inner city without crack. Unthinkable...but maybe a little healthier.

Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 by one – you guessed it – Tim Horton, a hockey player who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs for most of his professional career, followed by short stints with the New York Rangers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Buffalo Sabres. Tim was a six-time All-Star who played on four Stanley Cup teams; according to the official Tim Hortons website, Gordie Howe once called him “hockey’s strongest man.” His athletic capabilities and physical prowess clearly dictated the direction his future life would take: purveyor of coffee and breakfast pastries to Canada’s millions.

Tim Horton himself never lived to see his Coffee and Donut Empire grow to become a colossus. He was killed in an automobile accident in 1974, at a time when his nascent business consisted of 40 stores. Today the count is well over 2000.

In 1995, Tim Hortons and Wendy’s International merged, giving the Hortons organization a chance to peddle their Canajan Crack™ in the region south of the border. You can now glom onto a Tim Hortons donut in such diverse places as Michigan, New York, Ohio, Kentucky, Maine, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

And it’s not just donuts. Tim Hortons offers crullers, croissants, sandwiches, bagels, tarts, tea biscuits, Danish, dutchies, apple fritters, soups, chili, et cetera. They have TimBits™, their answer to the Donut Hole. Rumor has it that a much larger version of TimBits is in the works - TimBales™. Harh.

I myself have become an habitué of Hortons, starting each morning by arriving at the Saint John outpost of the Great Corporate Salt Mine, firing up the computer, and heading over to the local Tim’s for a large coffee, accompanied from time to time by a nice, warm cheese croissant. The coffee is good albeit unspectacular, a notch below the brew served at Dunkin Donuts down south, but it is reasonably priced and prepared to my specifications. Why spend $4 US on a cup of Starbucks’ overpriced java when you can get a perfectly good cup of Tim Hortons for less than $1.30 Canadian?

Now, please excuse me whilst I go mug an old lady and steal her lunch money. I need my Tim Hortons fix. Now.

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