Is Tim Hortons Still Canadian?

Is Tim Hortons Still Canadian?

tim horton

A Brief History of Timmies

  • 1930 - Miles Gilbert "Tim" Horton is born. He goes on to play 24 seasons for the NHL, most of those for the Leafs, and was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players of all time.
  • 1964 - While still firmly in the middle of his NHL career, and in the same season that the Leafs won their THIRD consecutive Stanley Cup, Tim Horton opens his first 'Tim Horton Doughnut Shop' in Hamilton ON. 
  • 1974 - Tim Horton dies after losing control of his De Tomaso Pantera on the QEW near St Catherines. His business partner Ron Joyce buys out the remaining shares for $1M and takes over as sole owner of the 40 stores.
  • 1976 - The Timbit is launched.
  • 1995 - Wendy's International Inc. acquires Tim Hortons for $400M
  • 2006 - Wendy's spins Tim Hortons off as its own separate company again, and is listed on the TSX.
  • 2014 - Burger King acquires Tim Hortons for $12.5B, funded by 3G Capital, which owns 71% of Burger King. The new parent company is called Restaurant Brands International (RBI). The CCPA (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) analyzed the deal with 3G Capital and warned it, "likely to have overwhelmingly negative consequences for Canadians", noting that 3G Capital, "has a 30-year history of aggressive cost cutting, which could hurt employees, small businesses, Canadian taxpayers, and consumers."
  • 2018 - RBI refuses to allow price increases following the minimum wage increase, which results in less paid breaks and cuts to employee health plans. Tim Hortons falls from 13th to 67th on the list of 'Canada's Most Reputable Companies', one of the largest moves of all the companies on the list.
  • 2019 - Tim Hortons is named as one of the Top 5 plastic polluters in Canada. Their current cups are not compostable, and are very difficult to recycle.
  • 2020 and beyond - Tim Hortons is criticized for not offering sick leave pay for workers during the pandemic

tim hortons covid unpaid sick leave

So, is Tim Hortons Canadian?

Yes and no. It's owner, RBI, is an American-Canadian company, with its majority shareholder (3G Capital) based in Brazil. The main reason that 3G acquired Tim Hortons was to save over $1B in tax, by moving the combined company headquarters to Canada from the U.S., where they were paying a higher rate of corporation tax. Tim Hortons was (and still is) a money making machine, so they also saw an opportunity to implement the well known 3G strategy of aggressive cost cutting to drive profitability.

tim hortons american brazil flag

Has Public Opinion of Tim Hortons Changed the Perception of its Coffee?

After years of being the quintessential Canadian brand, renowned for its coffee, and community relations, opinions about the company, and the coffee, started to change after the Burger King deal. People started asking online if the coffee recipe had changed, is it weaker, is it too dark, is it burnt tasting?

Once upon a time, many years ago, Tim Hortons used to be supplied by large scale roaster, Mother Parkers, a 100+ year old family run company. They knew how to roast coffee back then, and they still do now.

In 2009 Tim Hortons opened its own roasting facility in Ancaster, to go along with its facility in Rochester, NY, to enable it to roast the majority of its coffee inhouse. 

Around the same time, Mother Parkers was supplying coffee to McDonald's restaurants for use in house and for bagged coffee. 

So yes, some of those rumours are true...

Prior to all of the changes in the business, Tim Hortons was seen as THE Canadian Coffee Experience, i.e. there wasn't much competition. Starbucks had 7% market share, Tim Hortons had 62%. Since then, as Tim Hortons' reputation took a dive, the specialty coffee market exploded, and Timmies was seen less as a Canadian icon, and more as just another coffee shop, with inevitable comparisons being made against better quality coffee.

tim hortons cups

How Has Tim Hortons Affected Canadian Coffee Tastes?

Even though Timmies sells a few flavoured coffees, there are only really two basic blends on offer, Original, and Dark. Oh, and there is also Bold, which is err.. darker?

Now as discussed in our article on roasting, when you roast coffee dark, it all starts to taste the same, as you lose the important qualities of the origin (i.e. where it's grown, the altitude, the processing etc). And when compared to specialty coffee, Tim Hortons roasts its 'medium' coffee quite dark, and its dark/bold coffee really dark. The effect of this is to create a coffee so dark and bitter that many customers need to add cream and sugar to make it palatable. Hence the infamous 'Double Double'. (Now added to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary)

As a result of the Double-Double's popularity, many people think that black coffee is supposed to be bitter, and refuse to drink it without cream or sugar, or both. Convincing people to try good quality coffee, just black, can be difficult.

Here at Black Creek Coffee we're on a journey to educate people about the amazing different flavours of coffee, and how it can be selected, roasted and brewed to make a wonderfully smooth and flavourful drink. I've used this analogy before, but it's like whisky. Cheap whisky needs a mixer, good whisky has an abundance of smooth flavour, neat or with a little water.

The other benefit to switching to good quality, specialty coffee are the health and fitness benefits too. Black coffee is zero calorie, and boosts energy. In contrast, a Double-Double has a chocolate bar's worth of sugar in it.

black creek coffee yellow lab espresso


You can still be a hockey playing, snow shoveling, poutine eating, chest thumping Canadian, while drinking great coffee! So put down the double double and the Beiber balls, and buy great coffee like our Sanctuary Premium Blend fresh from small, independent, Canadian owned roasters.


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I pretty much stopped going to tim Horton around 2007. Coffee no longer tasted great and the food all has this odd similar smell…nauseating. service is in the toilet.


I used to like Tim Hortons now it’s gone down hill big time.the coffee isn’t the same.alot of people swear by McDonald’s coffee like I St thomas Ontario I’ve gone in Tims a few times recently.only because I live across the street.Anyway you order something and alot of times you here customers complaining they’ve waited over 20 to 30 minutes to order because there’s only one person working the till and90% orders are at drive threw.all the attentions on them not in house customers.And the west end talbot st runs out of darkroast and food All the time.Bad management you should never run out of product or you’ll lose customers.Im a stratified chef and ordering food products we always ordered a third more .and never run out of menue need good managers with business school qualifications..And I’ve heard numerous times half the employees hate working there..not kidding.Remember there always a business coming orbiter that will nock your business out of sales now or then.Have a good day.


Live by Tim Hortons can’t tell if it is open or not still can’t go inside. They need a flashing sign or something to tell you it is open the building is dark and the way it is situated you can’t tell if it is open or not . Not only every time I get coffee it is warm so have to use my microwave when I get home. You use to have to use a sleeve it was hot not any more. Good company and a great name come on step it up for our man in hockey heaven and improve . Please . Plus you can get better help when you pay well. Money talks and inflation is up. How about some incentives for scholarships if they work for a certain length of time. Gets some coffee deals out there. Your P R needs some work. Thank you for listening. Kay Marietta of Clarkston

Kay Marietta

I’ve enjoyed Tim Horton products since 1964 when I camped out with my friends down the street in Hamilton and one of the dads brought Tim Horton doughnuts, I started drinking Tim’s coffee in 1974 but the taste is so bad I can’t drink it anymore. Another win for corporate assholes. I guess it’ll be McDonald’s coffee from now on.

Gerry Goguen

No longer a fan of Tim Horton’s coffee and wraps!
Not only taste bad, but the cups are smaller, wraps are smaller!

Bob Barrow

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