14 things you didn't know about Tim Hortons

Sure, everybody knows that the Boston Cream donuts are better than the Maple Dip donuts, which in turn are better than the Vanilla Sprinkle donuts -- it’s just the natural order -- but here are a few things you probably didn’t know about Tim Hortons... 

1. It’s big in the Persian Gulf

They have 38 restaurants down there! 

2. They beat the Americans at their own game

They sell more coffee than Starbucks, and more fast food than McDonald's (at least within Canada). 

3. They removed the apostrophe because they aren’t French

Yes, in order to appease the Quebec language police, they changed the signs for the entire country from "Tim Horton's", to "Tim Hortons", leading many to believe that "Hortons" is a surname.

Flickr/Brendan Lynch

4. Because of Timmies, Canada eats more donuts per capita than any other country

Even our portly cousins to the South. 

5. Some of their staff were trained to handle a potential nuclear or biological attack 

They had a shop in the notorious Kandahar province of Afghanistan, at which the 41 staff members were given every kind of emergency training in the book, including nuclear & bio terrorism. 

6. They have a serious rivalry with Dunkin’ Donuts

When Tim Hortons switched from Coke to Pepsi in the States, Dunkin' spitefully switched from Pepsi to Coke.

Flickr/Calgary Reviews

7. The rollup prizes have gotten a LOT better

The biggest prize during the first year they ran it? A Snack Pack of Timbits. This year, it’s a car. 

8. They actually made that donut from How I Met Your Mother

Yes, the Priestly was real. It was a Timbit stuffed inside a strawberry-vanilla donut. 

9. Because of Tims, Canadians drink more coffee than the French, Italians, Americans, or virtually anyone else

It’s 6.5kg of the stuff, per person, per year, and eight out of 10 cups of coffee sold here are from Timmies.

Tims coffee

10. Every year, they serve 2 BILLION cups of coffee

... and only three people know the exact blend and roast they use. 

11. They changed the dictionary

The Canadian Oxford English Dictionary now lists “double-double”.


12. The rollup prizes are weirdly unfair sometimes

They’re distributed across the country by geography, not population, meaning if you live in the middle of Saskatchewan, you’re many times more likely to win than if you live in Downtown Toronto. 

13. They originally sold hamburgers 

Yep, hockey player Tim Horton, co-founder of the company, insisted their first stores sell char-grilled beef pucks. And the coffee? It cost just 10 cents. 

14. There was a persistent rumor that Tim Hortons added nicotine to their coffee

So addictive was their java, that in the early 2000s, a rumor was spread that they were spiking the stuff with nicotine. So persistent was this rumor, that in '04, CBC news program Disclosure performed a few tests... and found nothing (except that they use less caffeine than Starbucks).