Did you know that one of Canada's most recognizable businesses started as a humble family-owned garage?
Now, Canadian Tire's quarterly results sit in the multi billions, not to mention staggering increases over the last several years. It's safe to say that Canadian Tire is one of Canada's great success stories.
Almost every Canadian grew up seeing the familiar red-and-green logo of Canada's best-known department store. However, few know its remarkable history. Even fewer know how to navigate its app and score the best deals!
If you're ready to get the full story on this cornerstone of Canadian life, keep reading.
Canadian Tire History
When you walk into a full-sized Canadian Tire department store today, you wouldn't guess that it all started with two brothers and a corner garage. In 1922, John and Alfred "A.J." Billes purchased Hamilton Tire and Garage Ltd. They used their combined savings to make the purchase, which at the time came to $1,800.
This original store stood on the corner of Gerard and Hamilton streets in downtown Toronto. A year later, they moved their premises to the corner of Yonge and Golde streets. This new storefront received a new name as well: the Canadian Tire Corporation.
The founders chose this name because "it sounded big." Sure enough, the founders had big plans. Within decades, they expanded the store to include a massive warehouse and gas bar.
Despite its humble roots, the Canadian Tire Corporation held its own against larger chain stores and gas stations. It gained favour with the Canadian public and continued to find success.
Canadian Tire Money
In 1958, the store saw one of its trademark innovations: Canadian Tire money. Most gas bars offered discounts to keep their customers coming back. Alfred Billes's wife, Muriel Billes, had a different idea: she proposed that instead of offering discounts, the store should have a rewards program to keep customers returning to buy new items.
This creative idea was the start of a staple of Canadian culture that lasted for decades. The distinctively colourful paper "money" features a fictional character known as "Sandy McTire." The character has a large mustache and wears a Scottish tam o'shanter.
The program transitioned to a digital points system in 2012. Using a plastic card-based system allowed the store to offer greater rewards. However, Canadian Tire banknotes are such an icon of Canadian history that some have sold for thousands of dollars.
No longer a simple tire store, the Canadian Tire Corporation built on its success. It expanded across the Western provinces and built new facilities. The company also added new types of inventory to its stores.
The chain may have begun as a humble tire company, but now it includes a variety of departments, including:
- Outdoor living
- Hunting and fishing
- Home renovation
- Furniture and other home items
The Canadian Tire facilities adapted to meet these new goods. By 1973, it had built the first high-rise storage facility in Canada. In 1991, it opened a 100-acre distribution facility to meet the increasing demand for its products.
Canadian Tire has also acquired other Canadian mega-companies, including Mark's Work Wearhouse. It also owns the Norweigen-based sports equipment company Helly Hansen.
The Order of Canada
Perhaps the most shining moment of the history of Canadian Tire came in 1976. Alfred Billes was invested in the Order of Canada. This award recognized:
- The company's contribution to the Canadian business community
- Its employee-centred ethos
- The owners' willingness to share their success with employees
As one of Canada's oldest and most recognizable brands, Canadian Tire is more than a homegrown business success story. It's a cornerstone of life in Canada — just like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tim Hortons.
Canadian Tire Flyer
Canadian Tire has made a name for itself for something that everyone loves: sales. Virtually all Canadians know that they can find legendary savings at Canadian Tire on all kinds of household goods. It frequently runs sales of 25%, 50%, and 75% off of big household items, from tires to washing machines.
Do you want to save even more? If so, we recommend checking out the weekly Canadian Tire flyer.
In-store, you'll find great surprise deals on off-season and miscellaneous items. However, the flyer is where you'll find the best offers on seasonal goods. From school supplies in autumn to decorations at Christmas to snow shovels in February, you'll discover a great price that you didn't expect.
In years gone by, Canadian kids loved to get the paper Canadian Tire flyer in the mail and pour over the toy section. Now, you don't have to rely on paper. Sign up to get the flyer delivered right to your inbox every week.
The digital flyer allows you to:
- See the latest deals in real time
- Navigate easily
- Search and filter results to only see what you want
- Get a first look at high-demand items so you can get them before they're gone
Since flyer prices usually only apply to in-person purchases, you have to act quickly to get the flyer price.
Canadian Tire Flyer App
Email isn't the only way to get an early look at the Canadian Tire flyer. Did you know that Canadian Tire has its own app? Download it to save even more time finding great deals.
The app does more than give you the week's best prices. You can make secure purchases by connecting a credit card to your account. You can also see a history of all your recent Canadian Tire purchases. It's a fast, secure way to stay connected to the store.
Even better, the app lets you rack up rewards. While Canadian Tire doesn't issue its historic paper money coupons anymore, you can get serious savings through digital points. Use the app to tally them up and apply them to your next purchase.
Whether you're looking for a hockey stick or the best baking pan, the app can help you find it at the price you want. Download the mobile app on Google Play or the Apple app store and see what savings you can get.
Canadian Tire Near Me: We Promise There’s One Nearby
Canadian Tire has over 1,700 locations in Canada. This includes stores in every province and territory (except Nunavut). You'll find them from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, even on Cape Breton Island!
If you're looking for a Canadian Tire near you, you never have to look far to see the iconic red triangle logo.
There's guaranteed to be one in your hometown — or wherever you happen to be in a Canadian city. Check out the interactive store locator to find the location closest to you.
Canadian Tire Online Shopping
Can't make it to a brick-and-mortar store? Canadian Tire has expanded its online shopping options in response to COVID-19. This makes it even easier to find the best deals without having to leave your house.
Online shopping lets you browse the entire stock of Canadian Tire goods across Canada. You can have your items shipped right to your home.
If you want a faster option when you're shopping at Canadian Tire online, don't forget to set your location. This lets you search the inventory of the store closest to you.
Then, you can order your items online and then pick them up outside the store on the same day. This eliminates shipping time and costs. You can also choose a contactless curbside pickup option at no extra cost.
Canadian Tire Hours
Your local Canadian Tire likely has the hours:
- 8 am-9 pm Monday to Saturday
- 12 noon-5 pm Sunday
- Closed during some major holidays
However, not all Canadian Tire services follow these hours. Automotive services usually open at 8 am and close by 5 pm. They are also closed on Sundays and holidays.
A Staple of Canadian Life
Canadian Tire has been there to meet the needs of generations of Canadians. Its homegrown beginnings led to incredible growth, and its history continues today. The company keeps giving back to Canadians — plus, you'll find incredible prices and sales!
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