How Tim Hortons Changed Canadian Culture

Canadian culture has many things that are unique and rather endearing, especially in terms of cuisine. Some gems to look out for? Poutine: a dish that offers fries with a delicious twist and is usually topped with rich gravy. According to Reader's Digest, poutine is rather easy to find in Canada, whether you're at a big fast food chain or a tiny diner down the street. Speaking of things that are synonymous with Canadian culture, coffee giant Tim Hortons is a hot favorite as well.

The coffee chain, according to the National Post, has been so special for Canadians for a simple and heartwarming reason: in the 1990s, as the brand was trying to understand its audiences and brand identity better, the company's executives noticed just how much Canadians adored the coffee chain. For patrons, it wasn't just the coffee and affordable prices, but also the fact that the coffee shop gave customers a chance to engage in banter with their loved ones at their nearest Tim Hortons outlet. 

Clearly, the love for Tim Hortons had grown strong among the members of the public. There was the story of a woman who was on her way to deliver her baby, but insisted on a quick stop at Tim Hortons first. Another gentleman requested that his funeral procession should go past a Tim Hortons outlet and everyone present should be treated to coffee, gratis. Amazing.

It's a love story

There is a special connection that Canadians have with Tim Hortons. Think about this: When Canada got ready to welcome approximately 300,000 immigrants into the country in the 1960s, something special took place (via The Hill Times). The new arrivals were greeted with donuts, which they associated with their new home and, of course, Tim Hortons. This was embraced by everyone, almost like it was meant to be. "Tim Hortons is the reason why I would say we think about the donut as quintessentially Canadian," Irina D. Mihalache, a historian and professor at the University of Toronto, said. "It's very much attached to that consumer culture that was developed around Tim Hortons as kind of a community space."

A Redditor offered some more perspective on the strong brand association between Tim Hortons and Canada. They wrote that Tim Hortons, for many Canadians, has been a reliable coffee brand for the longest time. It helps that the prices are relatively reasonable and there's something there for the entire family. The Redditor wrote, "They have always been the coffee shop that's open at 6 a.m. on Sunday when you're driving your kid to a hockey game an hour away." Or when you're trying to get back home after an exhausting flight and need a pick-me-up. Basically, Tim Hortons is quintessentially Canadian.