CBC Digital Archives

Canadian Tire goes toe-to-toe with Home Depot and Wal-Mart

Since its origins as a family company in 1922, Canadian Tire has become a national icon and a handyman's addiction. The company showed a year-end profit for over 60 years, but a disastrous foray into the U.S. in the 1980s put the corporation on shaky financial ground. Nasty family bickering also threatened to tear the empire apart. CBC Digital Archives takes a look at Canadian Tire's turbulent years, when loyal customers and innovation paved the road to rebirth.

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The odds of competing directly with Home Depot and Wal-Mart seem stacked against most Canadian retailers in 1999. Sears and The Bay are already floundering, but Canadian Tire is one notable exception. Since the two mammoth American companies came north in the mid-1990s, they've overwhelmed large and small operations alike. But Canadian Tire has stood tall in their midst. In fact, as we see in this clip from CBC-TV's Canada Now, a huge renovation is taking place at the flagship outlet at Yonge and Bloor in Toronto. When complete, it will have three separate floors and will be the biggest Canadian Tire store in the country.
• Canadian Tire says its strength in the face of increased competition may be due to geographic proximity. On its website, the company says that about 85 per cent of Canadians live within a 15 minute drive of one of its stores. They also estimate that nine out of 10 adult Canadians shop at one of these outlets at least twice a year, and 40 per cent of Canadians shop at Canadian Tire every week.
Medium: Television
Program: Canada Now
Broadcast Date: Aug. 8, 2002
Guest(s): Gary Stamm, Benjamin Tal
Reporter: Terry Cain
Duration: 2:06

Last updated: February 10, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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