CBC Digital Archives

Tim Hortons: A peek 'under the icing'

Are the words "Timbit" and "double-double" part of your vocabulary? If the answer is yes, you must be Canadian. Despite the fact that it was bought by an American company in 1995, Tim Hortons seems to have injected itself into the centre of our Canadian identity. Started as a small doughnut shop owned by hockey legend Tim Horton, there are now more than 3,000 Tim Hortons locations. CBC Digital Archives looks at the evolution of Tim’s.

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In 2006, in anticipation of Tim Hortons's upcoming shift to a publicly traded company, CBC Radio's The Current takes an in-depth look "under the icing" of the popular chain. The report starts with a selection of comments from passionate Tim's fans in Halifax, including one man who says Tim's is "as traditional as the sun coming up in the morning" for Maritimers. But host Anna Maria Tremonti then delves into Tim Hortons's reputation as a "good corporate citizen" -- is it as well-deserved as many Canadians think?
• Tim Hortons has a reputation as a good corporate citizen for a number of reasons, including the Tim Hortons Children's Foundation summer camps for economically disadvantaged children. These camps have been running since 1975, the year after Tim Horton's death. Horton's business partner Ron Joyce started the camps as a tribute to Horton, who had loved children and believed it was important to help the disadvantaged. • As mentioned in this clip, the fact that Tim Hortons doesn't sell fair trade coffee is one major reason some Canadians see the company as a less-than-stellar corporate citizen.

• The fair trade movement is a growing social movement aimed at ensuring producers in developing countries are paid fairly for producing goods. "Its purpose is to create opportunities for producers who have been disadvantaged or marginalized by the traditional economic model," according to a 2007 CBCNews.ca backgrounder on the subject.

• Although Tim Hortons isn't part of the wider fair trade movement, in 2005 the company did institute its own sustainable coffee program. Tim Hortons's program is focused on direct corporate involvement in coffee growing communities, in terms of technical training, environmental management, and community improvements in areas like education and healthcare. The fledgling programs are currently in effect in Guatemala, Colombia and Brazil. 

Medium: Radio
Program: The Current
Broadcast Date: March 20, 2006
Guest(s): Rob Gross, Judith Maxwell
Host: Anna Maria Tremonti
Duration: 19:25
Photo: courtesy of Tim Hortons

Last updated: January 11, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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