Saturday Snapshots: Tim Hortons

What is there to say about Tim Hortons? I’m asking myself as much as I’m asking you, at this moment.

Timmy’s, as those of us in the know call it, is a coffee and doughnut chain in Canada. They are everywhere. Stand on any street corner and throw a rock, and apart from the scandal you’ll cause among the good, law-abiding citizens of Canada, you’ll almost certainly hit a Timmy’s. And then have to apologise and offer to pay for the damage. Don’t throw rocks, ok? That’s not really the point of this post.

What I mean to say is that Tim Hortons puts the (Tim)bit into ubiquitous.


  1. Timbits are doughnut holes, that you can buy by the box.
  2. The word ‘bit’ does not appear uninterrupted in the word ‘ubiquitous’.
  3. I stand by my decision to leave that joke in.

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We didn’t develop a daily Timmy’s habit, while we were in Canada, but we did visit often. I even have a preferred branch; there are three near where we were staying, and to get to the one I really like you have to walk past another one. Don’t ask me why, they really are all the same. I think there’s something about the length of walk to and from this particular branch that I liked. It felt like more of an excursion, like the trip to Tim Horton’s was a destination in and of itself rather than a stopping off point en route to somewhere else.

I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but the mocha super iced capp has changed me. It’s essentially a frozen coffee slushie, with chocolate sauce and whipped cream on top. It’s a dessert, more than a drink, and I don’t even care. Apparently it contains the same fat as two pork chop. I regret nothing.

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There is a chocolate sauce stash at the bottom of the cup. I CAN SEE IT.


I have been working on replicating it in my own home, with reasonable success – news on this when I have it down. As a temporary measure, I bought an iced coffee recently in a British coffee chain – it was not the same, at all. A simple cup of cold coffee cannot compare to coffee with, as I so delicately put it on my Facebook, hunners of crushed ice. Crushed sooooo tiny that it still goes into your straw and it’s like drinking the most amazing coffee sorbet and then there’s a ton of sweet shipped cream on the top and then you find a mine of chocolate sauce swirl and I’m going to have to have a lie down now.

Which is pretty much the opposite of what happened after I tried a medium-sized mocha iced capp supreme, with its generous helpings of coffee and sugar. It made my brain fizz. I went back to small after that.

Soft focus

Soft focus

Fun fact from Wikipedia that may not be true:

Tim Hortons commands 76% of the Canadian market for baked goods (based on the number of customers served) and holds 62% of the Canadian coffee market (compared to Starbucks, in the number two position, at 7%).

Did you read that? Tim Hortons, the number one for coffee sales in Canada, has a 62% share of the market. Starbucks is in second place, with 7%. Only 7% of Canadians get their coffee in Starbucks. This is how huge Timmy’s is.

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I know, in my head, that there is no distinction between Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Second Cup, McDonalds, Greggs or any other chain of shops. I do know it. It doesn’t feel like a Starbucks though – perhaps because of the novelty? Perhaps because they only exist in one country? Of course, it’s a giant big country, so that argument doesn’t really wash… But still. There is something of the local about it. Something of the lovable.
Since we got back, I have been heard to say (and have silently thought) one phrase repeatedly:

I just want a mocha super iced capp and a Boston Cream.

This shouldn’t be so unreasonable. Apparently there is an outlet at Dublin Zoo – I mean, it’s nearer than Canada, but still pushing it a bit for a coffee.

A bit.

Just out of interest, how much is a flight to Dublin…?

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About Rock Salt

Seasoning while rocking out since 1983. View all posts by Rock Salt

6 responses to “Saturday Snapshots: Tim Hortons

  • Lisa

    You didn’t eat the chili or “lasagna” did you?!?

    It is really too bad we did not know you were coming here. We would have recommended some hot spots. Did you make it to Balzac’s coffee by any chance? (I’ll have to do a post about them)

    Hortons has cornered the market on breakfast, lunch and snacks. How to tell the state of the economy? Check out the drive thru at Hortons.
    People are very particular about their coffee and Hortons has a loyal following.

    We feel the doughnuts have shrunk over the years. The owners deny it. They used to be baked fresh but now they’re partially frozen and they’ve gone heavy with the glaze. (Makes your gums ache thinking about it.)

    Glad to read you enjoyed your stay with us.

    • Rock Salt

      I gather you are not the biggest fan 😉 There is a lot to be said for the novelty factor of a place like Timmy’s.

      It wasn’t the only place we visited, of course – we did have recommendations from friends and family so we didn’t fly totally blind. I’ll hit you up for some suggestions next time though! I’m hoping it won’t be too long to wait.

  • veghotpot

    Ahh this brings back good memories 🙂 we went to Canada for our honeymoon last year and Tim Hortons became our morning treat (every morning!!). If you can’t have donuts for breakfast on honeymoon then when can you 😉 xx

  • annika - all the live long day

    ❤ ❤ ❤

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