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The iconic Canadian donut shop

By Samuel Cheng

Published 11:07 PDT, Thu September 28, 2023

If you were to pick the restaurant chain that best represents Canada, what would it be? Most people would choose the iconic coffee and donut shop Tim Hortons, also known Tim’s or Timmie’s. 

Tim Hortons was kickstarted by a Canadian hockey player named Tim Horton and his business partner Jim Charade in 1964. Horton was born on Jan. 12, 1930 at the Lady Minto Hospital in Cochrane, Ontario. The family relocated to various cities between the decade of 1935 to 1945, including Duparquet, Quebec and Sudbury, Ontario. 

Horton fell in love with hockey at a young age and grew up playing it in his hometown, Cochrane. Horton was merely 18 years old when his talent was discovered by the Toronto Maple Leafs organization in 1948. He was signed to play junior hockey in Toronto while attending St. Michael’s College. 

In just two years, Horton turned pro and went on to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He made his first National Hockey League (NHL) appearance on March 26, 1950. Horton spent the majority of his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs before moving around to different teams within the league, including the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. He won four Stanley cup titles during his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Horton was known for his tough and relentless style of play. Hardworking, calm, and durability were his forte. In his 24 seasons as an NHL player, he has gone on to collect numerous awards and achievements including NHL First Team All-Star (1964, 1968, 1969) and NHL Second Team (1954, 1963, 1967). From Feb. 11, 1961 to Feb. 4, 1968, in a span of six years, Horton appeared in 486 consecutive NHL games, which remains as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ club record.

In 1996, The Buffalo Sabres retired the #2 jersey in honor of Horton. Also, in 2016, after the Toronto Maple Leafs had changed their retirement policy, the team decided to retire the #7 jersey in honor of both Horton and King Clancy. 

Sadly, Tim Horton was killed in a single vehicle crash on Queen Elizabeth Way in St. Catharines, Ontario, on Feb. 21, 1974. According to the autopsy report, it was found that Horton was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the accident.

Despite his death, Horton left behind a greater legacy that he could never have imagined. Tim Hortons started out as a hamburger restaurant in North Bay, Ontario in 1964. This is not to be confused with Tim Horton’s first donut store that was opened in Hamilton, Ontario months later.

Horton’s former business partner Charade had decided to leave the company two years later but returned briefly in 1970 and 1993 through 1996.

In 1967, Horton found himself partnering up with an investor Ron Joyce, who ultimately took control of the company after Horton’s death in 1974. Joyce was also the one responsible for rapidly expanding Tim Hortons into a multi-billion dollar business we have come to know today.

Do you know the names of Tim Hortons first two donut creations? Over the years, Tim Hortons menu has grown extensively. It began with only two varieties of donuts on its menu, the Apple Fritter and the Dutchie. 

In 1976, the world-renowned Timbits was introduced and added to the menu. For those wondering what and how Timbits were created, the answer is simple. Timbits are made with leftover donut dough that was shaped into bite-size pieces before fried in oil. For some individuals, Timbits would be the equivalent to the America’s “donut hole”. 

Timbits come in a huge assortment of flavors. With Old Fashion, Chocolate Glazed, Honey Dip, Sour Cream Glazed and more. Celebrating the 50th anniversary, Tim Hortons released a limited-edition flavor called the “Birthday Cake”. It was given out for free on May 17, 2014 to celebrate the special occasion. Muffins and cookies were introduced in 1981.

Aside from the sweets, Tim Hortons has since expanded its drinks menu from more than just coffee. Flavored lattes were offered in 1997. Other products such as soups, bagels and sandwiches eventually made their ways onto the menu. 

Fast forward to Aug. 26, 2014, the donut giant has decided to merge with the fast-food chain Burger King for 11.4 billion US dollars. 

There are currently eight Tim Hortons locations in Richmond, three on Sea Island, one along Bridgeport Road, one on Cambie Road, one at Richmond Centre, one at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, a location at Ironwood Plaza, and a location under construction on Jacombs road.

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