Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Matters cultural...or, "I can haz a Tim's?"

I have realized that not everybody even in the notably well-informed and aware world of bloggery recognizes everything that "Canajuns" refer to as a matter of course.

So today's post is designed to clarify what is meant by the term, "TIM HORTON'S" -- the informal variant is "TIM'S."

Tim Horton's is a widely-franchised and very successful Canadian coffee and doughnut shop. The eponymous Tim Horton was -- I think it's fair to say, and if it isn't, my sports-mad offspring will correct me, publicly -- a journeyman player in the National Hockey League. Competent, but not particularly illustrious.

In his retirement, "life after hockey," Mr. Horton went into the retail doughnut business. There are now branches of this franchise from sea to shining sea (and from the River even unto the ends of the earth). Also in Afghanistan; the young men and women of the Canadian Forces overseas have to have their Tim's.

This ain't Starbucks. There is one flavour of coffee (decaf is available). There is tea, also one flavour thereof; much is made of it's being "steeped" (think, "properly made"). There are doughnuts. There are muffins. Of late there are bagels, and even cookies, danishes, croissants, fritters and so forth. In season, there are fresh strawberry tarts. Year-round, there are "Timbits" = "doughnut holes."*

There is a small lunch-ish menu; varieties of soup and sandwiches, not too exotic but quite good and modestly priced. I believe there is chili, from time to time.

One other thing, from time to time during the year there is a Tim Horton's promotion called "Rrrroll up the rrrrim to win." During this outbreak, customers may find prizes listed under the rolled rims of their disposable coffee-cups... There are no public statistics on how many people scald themselves mildly because they are too impatient to finish their coffee before they dismember the cup.

In many places now "Tim's" shares premises with "Wendy's." (Are we clear, on what is meant by "Wendy's"? The Rambler lives to inform......)

*Ecclesiological note: "Timbits" are the staple diet of church youth groups of every known denomination...

16 comments:

mompriest said...

Wendy's?....I do like the term, Timbits...never had one, but great term...

Crimson Rambler said...

Wendy's is a hamburger joint, also franchised, founded by a guy named Dave Thomas, and I was SURE he was an Amurrican, but maybe somewhat regional???

Auntie Knickers said...

Just to show you how great it is to live in Maine, we too have Tim Horton's! There is a new one going up right now on the main entrance road to my town, and there's been one for a while in the neighboring town, where the Big Box stores hang out. (It's also quite near the freeway that brings the Quebecois to Old Orchard Beach in summer and on the first leg of the Florida migration in winter.) I've only been there once and it was during a roll up the rim promotion -- took me a while to figure that out.
I would have thought Wendy's was all over, we have them here and also in Minnesota, but who knows? Actually now that I think of it I saw my first Tim Horton's on the NY State Thruway (at a rest stop of course).

johnieb said...

In my experience, from Arizona through the mid-South (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee) to New England, Wendy's may be found; however, they do not seriously challenge MickyD's or Burger King.

"Dunkin Donuts" may be the closer analogy to Tim's in the L.P., though I believe there are fewer lunchish things and more varieties of donut shapes & toppings.

Young Seeker said...

... agreed! And there is nothing like a steeped cup of Timmy's tea to provide all required calmness for working in absolutely any youth related ministry.

Chorus said...

Don't forget about their "breakfast sandwiches," which total up to approximately 10,332,465,978,201 points on the Weight Watchers scale.

Chunklets said...

"The eponymous Tim Horton was -- I think it's fair to say, and if it isn't, my sports-mad offspring will correct me, publicly -- a journeyman player in the National Hockey League. Competent, but not particularly illustrious."

Present! :) Tim Horton was indeed the epitome of the journeyman NHL defenceman. He played in 24 NHL seasons, beginning in 1949, and spent the majority of his career with Toronto. He actually started the doughnut business in 1964, while playing for the Leafs.

Tim Horton was still active in the NHL, playing for Buffalo, when he was killed in a car accident in 1974. He is currently 17th in all-time games played in the NHL, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1977.

Crimson Rambler said...

I googled the Wendy's Finder and discovered distribution of that franchise approximating johnieb's analysis. Holding Wendy's back from ultimate success, I suspect, is the square shape of their burgers. But I like their baked-tater things.
Yes, auntie, I think I was aware that Tim's had infiltrated a bit in border states.
You are right, seeker, and the only better calmant for youth ministers would be a cup of Uncle Tim's steeped tea with an added shot of Mr. Bronfman's steeped whatever...
Sports-Mad Offspring, good morning, thank you for your contributions, yes I think on the whole the breakfast sandwich represents a CORPORATE ERROR...especially the floury biscuit-entity part.

Young Seeker said...

hmmm... what is Bronfman's? Driving a long distance with a gal from New Zealand and we were actually talking about Wendy's today! Apparently Auckland JUST got one. It's a brand new thing in New Zealand, but from a first glance, everything appeared to be the exact same - all the way down to the colour of the tiles on the walls!! Just an interesting tidbit about the Wendy's franchise... and did you know that in Canada, we have a maple leaf in place of the apostrophe?! :)

Kathryn said...

Thank you...you've no idea how often the "Two nations divided" thing means I have to guess wildly at cultural references...Am wondering how the poor UK youth groups get by, as there's really not a nationwide equivalent that I can detect.

Crimson Rambler said...

dear seeker, for "Bronfman" read "Seagram" -- does that illuminate the question?

LutheranChik said...

If there's milk in the tea, I'm in at Tim's!

I'm Still Me said...

Adding to the lunch menu, I was in a Tim's in Montreal and they also had baked beans.

Kate Morningstar said...

They always have chili at Tim's (also Timmy's) in Ontario. And there are other kinds of tea available, but not properly made -- bag in a cup with not-quite-boiling water added.

You left out, CR, the Canadianism that came out of Tim's and into the Canadian Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary: the "double-double". I asked two Amurrican friends about this -- one has a doctorate in linguistics and the other's a journalist -- and they'd never heard the term. One suggested something about kinky sex as a possible definition. But it is, for anyone who's visiting -- double cream, double sugar in the coffee. Tim's has cream machines now, that provide measured shots based on the size of the cup. And there are triple-triples, but that ceases to be coffee and becomes something more like chocolate milk. I think so, anyway.

Thanks, CR -- that WAS fun.

Kate Morningstar said...

P.S. On the official Tim Horton's website, there's a trip planner -- you can plug in your arrival point and destination, and it'll tell you where all the Tims' are that you'll pass en route.

Tim Chesterton said...

One of my few claims to fame is that my mother in law used to be Tim Horton's schoolteacher, and was also his distant relative. Just goes to show how old I am!