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Tim Hortons coffee shops have always held a special place in my heart. It was my father's favorite hang out. As a kid, I used to help my dad with the grocery shopping (there were seven of us).

Depending on how much money we got back from clipping food coupons, my dad would smile and say, "now we can get something from the coffee shop before we head home."

To this day, whenever I meet a deadline, I still treat myself to a coffee and a raisin tea biscuit at Tim Hortons. Since my father suffered cardiac problems, I no longer eat anything deep fried - instead I bake three kinds of donuts at home.
When I first traveled south of the border as a teen, I expected to find my "friend along the way." Naturally, I thought Tim Hortons shops were everywhere in North America. It wasn't until 1984 that Tim Hortons expanded into the U.S. (and now boasts about 817 shops there).[1] 
Tim Hortons Coffee
Credit: MSVG on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

In Canada, Tim Hortons are everywhere

We have two kitty-corner to each other in my hometown - one at the gas station and the other for eat-in customers (only 100 metres away). According to the Tim Hortons website, there were 3,468 locations in Canada as of June 30th, 2013.[1]

Coffee you can count on...

The one thing that stands out for me about Tim Hortons is their consistency - no matter what shop I go to, the coffee tastes the same. A brilliant decision was made (I think around 2009) to toss out coffee over 20 minutes old.

The other thing is, the coffee doesn't cost as much as those fancier shops. Plus I don't feel like I need to adhere to some dress code just to walk into Tim Hortons.

Their menu choices have expanded over the years too. In 1964, when the first shop opened (in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada), Tim Hortons only sold coffee and donuts. In fact, it was 12 years later that Timbits (the donut holes) were available for purchase.[1]

Gee, for over a decade those donut holes were going to waste?

In the '90s, I was offered two jobs - I took the one closest to Tim Hortons. I thoroughly enjoyed their lunch specials and found their selection of bagels a healthier alternative to donuts for me and my cholesterol.
No way, Timmys?
Credit: Loimere on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Now, Tim Hortons pretty much caters to every meal of the day with breakfast sandwiches, soups, chili, and even grilled paninis. Colder drinks like smoothies and iced coffee were also a welcome addition during the summer months. As for the fancier coffees? Sure, my friends seem to enjoy them, but I just stuck to their original brewed coffee.

Changes that were harder to adjust to...

During the summer of 2007, an agreement was penned between MasterCard Worldwide and Tim Hortons.[2] For a spell, there was an exclusive agreement between them and I almost signed up for a MasterCard credit card.

In time (as most of my friends predicted), debit cards were accepted in 2003 and finally we could all count on Interac running our lives again.

Did we mind the wait for the debit machine when it was our turn to pay? Meh, intially yes, but now that I have a chip on my debit card, I don't have to worry about which way I swiped the damn card. The comedians of This Hour Has 22 Minutes[3] did a brilliant spoof about it (shown next).



When debit was first accepted (only 54 seconds):

This year marks their 50th Anniversary

Just when the February blahs start to get to me, they break out the Roll Up The Rim To Win cups. This year marks 28 years of this proud Canadian tradition. Did you know that when it first began (in 1986) the grand prize was Timbits - and not a huge box of them, just the snack size.[4]

Since then though, Tim Hortons has given away cars (around 500 so far), prepaid MasterCards, 3-D televisions, grills, bicycles, and millions in food and drink prizes.[5]

This year, the contest cups are due out February 17th and run until, well, they run out of prize cups (which I find is usually around the end of April).

Recently, Tim's introduced a dark roast blend (which I have yet to try) and May 17th marks Tim Hortons 50th anniversary.[6]

Remember: There are TWO places to roll up now.

Tim Hortons is giving away 10 more Toyota Corollas!

Tim Horton's 50th Anniversary Roll up the Rim cup
Credit: RoseWrites / All rights reserved

Other wonderful things about Tims

June 4th is Camp Day where Tim Hortons raises money to help fund camps (and other activities) for kids. Last year, an astounding $11.8 million was raised.[7] Not only that, in my city, Tim Hortons regularly sponsors free family skating and free swims.

What's impressed me in the last few years is their recycling and waste bins - yeah. They actually have sorting stations both inside and outside their shops so that we can keep on recycling whenever we visit.

The latest thing to adjust to...

Well, I've got to admit, those cup size changes really threw me for a loop. The official word was that in 2012 people wanted a larger cup size, so a 24 oz. (750 ml) was introduced. Instead of just adding a size called extra extra large, the cups sizes were all changed.

Sure the medium may have looked small to some and the small was about "five gulps worth of coffee" (my dad would say). But we were used to it.

The CBC report next illustrates my point.


Cup size confusion (CBC report) only 2:05 long:

For your viewing pleasure, two hilarious snippets

From 22 Minutes (only 1:03 long):

More cup size confusion (1:41 seconds)

Featuring Shaun Majumder and Mark Critch

Pour any size you feel like at home

Tim Hortons Ground Coffee Can
Amazon Price: $14.99 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 14, 2014)
Okay, so now anyone can enjoy our prized Canadian coffee. If you are into the K-cup or Tassimo system, don't worry - just scroll down and you'll find all kinds of Tim Hortons coffees available. You can even buy whole bean, decaffeinated, French Vanilla, English Toffee Cappuccino and hot chocolate on Amazon.