It’s a national institution that has kept Canadians well fed and caffeinated for decades — but how much do you really know about Tim Hortons? Check out these fascinating facts about Canada’s favourite coffee and doughnut chain.
The first “Roll Up The Rim” contest didn’t go well
The first year of the iconic “Roll Up the Rim to Win” contest, the biggest prize you could win was… drumroll please… wait for it… a pack of Timbits! Things have gotten substantially better over the years; in 2015, the grand prize was one of 50 Toyota Camry XSEs, with other prizes including gift cards.
That’s a lot of coffee!
Thanks to Tims, Canadians drink more coffee than Italians, Americans, the French or pretty much any other nation. In fact, we drink more than 14 billion cups of coffee each year. Tim Hortons serves more than 2 billion cups alone.
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Tims Serves more coffee in Canada than Starbucks
Tim Hortons is tops when it comes to java, selling more coffee in Canada than Starbucks. According to Tims themselves, eight out of every 10 cups of coffee sold in Canada are from Timmies, which accounts for more than 60 per cent of the Canadian coffee market.
The company also serves more food in Canada than McDonalds
Despite competition from American interlopers, Tim Hortons remains at the top of Canada’s fast food chain, outselling every other fast food restaurant — even McDonald’s! In fact, Tim Hortons accounts for a quarter of all fast-food revenues in the country.
Thanks to Tim Hortons…
… Canadians eat more doughnuts per capita than our neighbours to the south.
It was founded by a hockey player
Younger customers many not be aware that the chain was founded by NHL defenceman Tim Horton. Spending 24 seasons in the league, Horton played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Buffalo Sabres. He opened his first Tim Horton Donut Shop in Hamilton, Ont. in 1964; within a few years it had grown to become a million-dollar-a-year franchise. When he died in a car accident in 1974 at age 44, there were 40 locations.
There’s a Tims credit card
In 2014, Tim Hortons launched its “Double Double” Visa cards, a high-tech credit card with different light-up buttons that allow the consumer to use it as a regular Visa card or redeem the points racked up at the nearest Tim Hortons location.
It’s not just in Canada
Canadians like to think of Tim Hortons as ours, but there are also locations in the U.S. (which haven’t been as successful as here at home) but is particularly popular in the Middle East, with 38 locations in such areas as Abu Dhabi and Dubai. As if that’s not enough, there are also Tim Hortons locations in Scotland and Ireland — even one at the Dublin Zoo.
The company was once owned by Wendy’s
From 1992 until Tim Hortons went public in 1996, the company was owned by the Wendy’s burger chain.
‘The Priestley’ was real!
CBS sitcom ‘How I Met Your Mother’ regularly spoofed all things Canadian (thanks to B.C.-born star Cobie Smulders. In one episode, guest star Jason Priestley proudly announced that Tim Hortons had named a doughnut after him. Shortly after the episode aired, Tim Hortons apparently did it for real, tweeting a picture of a new creation dubbed “The Priestley” — a timbit stuffed inside a strawberry-vanilla doughnut.
It’s in the dictionary!
So ubiquitous is Tim Hortons in Canada that “Double Double” actually made it into the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, where it’s defined as “a coffee with double cream and double sugar added.”