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I’m trying not to be much of a junk food person, with varying success depending on when you ask.

But I am still a junkie for the history of junk food places and their role in creating popular culture.

In the states the first McDonald’s is considered a landmark. So too is the first place the Colonel sold Kentucky Fried Chicken. So is the old gas station where the first scoops of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream were served up in Burlington, Vermont.

So, it is only fair to ask if there are similar shrines in Canada ?

I welcome your input but what comes to mind for me is the first Tim Hortons’.

These days, Tim Hortons’ is a major corporation – a fixture most every Canadian town and city, and a name found in places far beyond (As of June 30, 2013, Tim Hortons had 4,304 restaurants, including 3,468 in Canada, 807 in the United States, 29 in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf).

The very first coffee shop opened at 65 Ottawa Street North in Hamilton. At the time Tim Horton was at the peak of his playing career with the Leafs. In all, he played for Toronto, the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres over 24 years. 

In 1967, with three stores in operation, hockey player Tim Horton became full partners with former police officer and franchisee of Tim Hortons Store #1, Ron Joyce.

By 1968, Tim Horton had become a multimillion-dollar franchise system. Tim Horton died in 1974 in a one vehicle auto crash on the Queen Elizabeth Way. Upon Horton’s death,  Joyce bought out the Horton family’s shares for $1 million and took over as sole owner of the existing chain that had 40 stores at the time and later expanded to nearly 4,600 stores in Canada alone by 2013.

The first Tim Hortons stores offered only two products – coffee and donuts.  The selection of donuts to enjoy was highlighted by two original Tim Hortons creations, the Apple Fritter and the Dutchie.  They became the most popular donut choices in the 60’s, and remain two of the most popular today.

Today, Tim Hortons first location features a small visitors museum and a replica of the original 1964 sign that once marked the location of this iconic Canadian brand. Famous for its association with one of Canada’s best-loved hockey players, Tim Hortons originally served only two products—coffee and doughnuts.

Tim Horton’s number 7 has been retired by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The player’s number is now hung high above the Air Canada Centre and is one of the draws for the new building that replaced Maple Leafs Garden. Similarly, the first Tim Hortons’ donut shop in Hamilton continues to draw folks to what has become a shrine to the man and the now famous product he created.

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Image Credit and source credit: Forgotten Buffalo

 

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