The Reason People Were Upset About Tim Hortons' Poppy Donut

Despite the fact that Tim Hortons now has a strong presence across the globe, as per Mental Floss, the brand is as Canadian as can be. Interestingly, while Tim Hortons sold burgers when it began its journey, it eventually evolved into the coffee chain that we know and love. Why? Well, the hamburgers didn't live up to expectations which led to the founders experimenting with more suitable options for their target audience such as coffee and donuts.

Years later, Tim Hortons tried another menu idea that was even less well-received than the brand's hamburgers: the poppy donuts. Why poppy donuts, you ask? History explains that poppies came to symbolize Remembrance Day thanks to a Canadian brigade surgeon, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who served in WWI. After seeing poppies growing in the same French soil that served as a battlefield, McCrae wrote a poem about the flowers. Well, in 2017, a Tim Hortons outlet in Calgary decided to release poppy donuts in honor of Remembrance Day.

It was not pretty

Some patrons were not pleased with the poppy donuts and believed Tim Hortons exploited a deeply meaningful symbol of Remembrance Day with the gesture. A Twitter user expressed their distaste and wrote, "Tim Hortons 'poppy donut' leaves a bad taste in my mouth, just like edible flags." Meanwhile, the Calgary Poppy Fund and Veterans' Foodbank general manager, John Rathwell did release a statement that addressed the issue. According to the CBC, Rathwell gave Tim Hortons the benefit of doubt. He said, "It was all good intentions, I understand. Nobody was out to hurt anybody." However, he also stressed that "the poppy symbol is a registered trademark and permission should be asked." Tim Hortons stopped selling the controversial donuts.

Others remained displeased. A Redditor called out the brand and said that they would only support the donuts if they knew veterans were benefitting in some way: "Would buy if funds donated to veterans." The head office of Tim Hortons said in a statement that the owner of the Calgary outlet would "be matching and donating 100 percent of the poppy donut proceeds to the Royal Canadian Legion."