Tim Hortons - Canada’s National Treasure

Posted on September 24, 2021

I'll have a large double-double, a box of assorted Timbits, three dutchies, and an iced capp, please. Sorry, one more thing, I'd like to pay for the order of the car behind me. 

Have you ever heard anything more Canadian? 

For many Canadians, stopping at Tim Hortons has become part of our daily routine. If you're heading to your kid's soccer game, preparing for a road trip across the province, or wanting to treat your employees for attending a meeting - you're stopping at Timmies. 

With 4,800 locations, Tim Horton's is the largest restaurant chain in Canada, proudly brewing over 5 million cups of coffee every day. Around 80% of Canadians say that at least once a month they visit a Tim Horton's. 

Most of us know and love Tim Horton's but you may not know about its history. Many Canadians might not know who owns Tim Horton's or about the man behind the namesake. 

Keep reading to learn more about this Canadian staple that has become so much more than a coffee shop. 

A Brief History of Tim Hortons

Popularly known as "Timmies", Tim Hortons is a Canadian restaurant chain. It's known for its coffee, donuts, and baked goods. It is also considered a part of Canadian culture. 

The founders are Tim Horton, a former Toronto Maple Leaf defenseman, and Jim Charade, a businessman from Montreal. Together, they opened the first franchise in April of 1964, in Hamilton, Ontario. 

By 1967, a local policeman in Hamilton by the name of Ron Joyce became a partner in Tim Horton's, which had three stores by this year. 

Tim Horton's expansion throughout the years led to over 4,000 stores worldwide, and many mergers including fast-food heavyweights Burger King and Wendy's. 

Tim Horton's is embedded into the fabric of Canada's culture and remains a staple in the lives of many Canadians. The familiar feel, the freshly brewed coffee, the warm baked goods, not to mention the Canadian values, makes Tim Horton's Canada's cultural phenomenon.

tim hortons statue in hamilton vs real person
1st Tim Hortons Doughnut Shop in Hamilton vs the Real Tim Horton

Who Was Tim Horton?

We know the namesake is a former hockey player - but not just any hockey player. Tim Horton was the defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs who helped the team win four Stanley Cups from 1962 to 1964, and 1967. In 2017, he was named one of the 100 greatest NHL players of all time. 

Tim Horton was born in Cochrane, a small town in Ontario. His family moved to Quebec during his childhood before settling in Sudbury, Ontario in 1945.  

Young Tim Horton was a hockey fan early on. He placed ice hockey in nearby Timmins and eventually moved to Toronto, attending St. Michael's College School and playing for the junior hockey team. In 1948, he was signed to the Toronto Maple Leaf's organization. 

Tim Horton always had an interest in the restaurant business, and during his off-season months, he dedicated his time to pursue a career off the ice.

When he met Jim Charade in 1963 the two opened up a store in Scarborough, Ontario called Your Do-nut, which later bore the name of the famous hockey player. Together, they created a company called Timanjim Ltd and opened up four restaurants. 

Toronto has some of the most devoted fans of any hockey team and the hockey culture runs deep in all parts of the country. Part of the success of Tim Horton's restaurants is its hockey roots and support of Canadian culture. 

old tim hortons coffee shop
Tim Horton's 2014 Old Coffee Shop

Tim Hortons (or Timmies) Near Me - We Promise There’s One Close By

After the opening of the first store in 1964, Tim Horton's has grown into a well-known franchise that expands far beyond Canadian borders. 

There are many stand-alone stores but there are locations inside shopping malls, universities, hospitals, and other retail outlets. 

Tim Horton's locations can be found all around the world. Currently leading in locations with 4000 stores countrywide is Canada. The USA is the country with the second most locations at 500 stores. 

You may also be surprised to know that the Middle East boasts locations in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman. 

China has over 50 locations in Shanghai and Beijing, with the Philippines being home to 20 locations. You can find 20 locations in the United Kingdom, as well as 20 around Mexico.  

Tim Hortons menu

Tim Hortons Menu

One of the first Tim Horton's stores only offered two menu items - coffee and donuts. Since then the menu has expanded to many hot and cold drinks, as well as plenty of meal options. 

For cold and hot beverages at Tim Horton's you can find: 

  • An original blend of freshly brewed coffee made every 20 minutes 
  • An assortment of cold and hot tea 
  • Hot chocolate 
  • Flavoured cappuccinos 
  • The famous iced cappuccino
  • Iced coffee
  • Soft drinks 
  • Frozen fruit coolers 

In the 1990s, Tim Horton's began to sell more premium and specialty items. Instead of serving the standard option that you find at most coffee shops, they reinvented coffee items with their signature recipes. 

To draw in a bigger crowd, the menu was expanded to include food. Besides donuts, sandwiches were introduced in 1993, while chilli and soup were added in 1985. 

Now you can find an assortment of breakfast, lunch, and dinner food including: 

  • Assorted bagels 
  • Hot breakfast sandwiches 
  • Baked goods such as muffins, croissants, tea biscuits, cookies, danishes 
  • Wraps 
  • Soups and chilli 
  • Timbits 

Some locations even have special cakes made to order for birthdays and other occasions. 

Many locations offer the same menu items but might have slight variations in ingredients depending on the location. The pricing may also vary in certain countries depending on the franchise owner. 

Tim Hortons Donuts

You may be surprised to know that per capita, Canadians eat more donuts than any other nation worldwide Now there's a statistic to be proud of!

This is largely due to the popularity of Tim Horton's coffee shops. When Tim Horton's was first branded, they created a drive-in-style restaurant that served burgers and chicken dishes. The coffee shop was created separately but it had far greater success. 

Today, they have a large assortment of donuts, including festive, seasonal, and classic varieties. These are some of the most popular donuts serve at Tim Horton's: 

Sour Cream Glazed

The name might throw you off but we can guarantee you won't be disappointed if you try this donut. We associate sour cream with salty food but this is made with a cultured cream that complements the texture of a freshly baked donut. It's sweet and rich and it's at the top of the list as one of the best donuts Tim Horton's has to offer.  

Apple Fritter

This cinnamon-flavoured donut comes in a rectangular shape. The apple and cinnamon work magically together creating a delicious treat. The apple fritter was one of the original menu items at the very first Tim Horton's locations. 

Boston Cream

The Boston cream donut is another long-standing menu item at Timmies. It is round but it doesn't have your standard donut hole because it's filled with delicious creamy custard and covered with a chocolate glaze on top. 

Vanilla Dip 

This one is a child's dream donut but let's face it, we've all ordered a vanilla dip. It's round, colourful, and tasty. The multicoloured sprinkles will make you feel like a kid again. 

The Growth of Tim Hortons 

The growth and expansion of Tim Horton's are undeniable. With almost 5000 stores, expansion in menu items, and international mergers, Tim Horton's is a heavyweight in its own right in the restaurant industry. 

In 1995, Tim Hortons merged with Wendy's International Inc., expanding its location all across the U.S. With many stores offering 25-hour drive-thru service, it's no doubt that Timmies has become the go-to for people on the go. 

With new locations popping up all over the world, Tim Horton's doesn't show any signs of slowing down. 

If you are interested in buying a franchise of your own, consider getting a personal business loan to get started. 

Tim Hortons Corporate Structure

The corporate head office of Tim Hortons is based in Oakville, Ontario. It operates under TDL Group Ltd. with over 760 employees. 

Five offices in Canada are responsible for regional operations, as well as three offices in the U.S. The franchise store locations employ over 55,000 staff members across the country. 

They also have several corporate departments including: 

  • Real estate and development 
  • Legal services 
  • Construction 
  • Design 
  • Human resources and operations 
  • Research and development 
  • Marketing 
  • Corporate communications 
  • Finance
  • Franchising

These are parts of the corporate structure that make Tim Horton's one of the most successful restaurant chains in Canada. If you have a business or your own, you may want to add insurance to your corporate business structure. 

A Final Thought on Tim Horton's 

Tim Horton's has undoubtedly solidified its place in Canadian culture. It has a rich history with deep-seated Canadian roots, making it a part of the lives of all Canadians. Learning about its history and the man behind the store is just one part of understanding the massive success behind Tim Hortons. 

As any Canadian will tell you, dropping into Tim Horton's is more than just grabbing a coffee. You can get a taste of what Canada is all about in this warm, friendly, iconic Canadian favourite. 

For more advice and quotes on an insurance policy for your business or franchise, be sure to visit our website today. 

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