One of the very first true loves of my adult life was an older man. Correction: a rather tall, lanky older man, who happened to be missing a few of his more significant front teeth. I have always been a sucker for those hunky Canadian hockey players…
Tim Horton was a professional hockey player, and in 1949 signed on to play with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Over the next 20 years he worked on the kind of career that got him inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1977, three years after his death in a car accident. Before he left us, Horton started his doughnut and coffee shops; of which there are over 2,200 outlets in Canada and the northeastern U.S. today.
What you get at “Timmy�s” is certainly not gourmet coffee, and you certainly can’t order a ‘skim milk latte’ or an ‘espresso con panna’. Their coffee is very plain and very simple, but it is delicious. I’ve had many Saturday morning discussions over Tim’s coffee and doughnuts about what they could possibly be putting into their coffee to make it so addictive. Being the poor detective that I am, I think it all boils down to quality coffee and fresh brewing, plain and simple. And that simple formula has worked for them.
My relationship with this brawny hockey player began in the summer of 1990. I was working for my father, painting hallways and stairwells in a condo in Scarborough, just outside Toronto proper, saving up money for university. My older brother was working with me and he introduced me to the coffee shop around the corner. Every morning we would go to the drive-through with my dad, who ordered us each a coffee (small with milk only for my dad, a large double-double for Dave, and a large with a-little-coffee-with-my-cream-and-loads-of-sugar for me) along with a pack of Tim-Bits for sharing. This was the breakfast of champions and hallway painters, alike.
Now, fifteen years later Tim Horton’s is still my coffee house of choice – I am always hoarding little piles of $1.46 in change (S. has no idea where all the coins from his pockets disappear to!) for my morning caffeine fix. Luckily for me there is a Tim’s in the hospital where I work. There are also two within walking distance from my parent’s house – so I’m always calling ahead to find out what people want when I stop on my way. While my dad still has a small with milk, David has stopped drinking coffee altogether and I have switched to milk only in mine. But the coffee remains the same – and for my money the doughnuts rival Krispie Kreme’s any day of the week… but especially this month, because it’s Mmm…Canada this month and Tim Horton’s is Canadian, through and through (even if it happens to be American-owned).