Poutine doughnut on Tim Hortons' Canada Day menu — for American customers only

To celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, Tim Hortons is serving up patriotic food. But only U.S. customers will get to try the poutine doughnut or the maple bacon Iced Capp.

Canadian customers are being offered much tamer treats for July 1

Tim Hortons will serve up a new poutine doughnut — complete with gravy, cheese curds and potato wedges — on Canada Day. But it's heading to select U.S. locations only. (Tim Hortons)

To celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, Tim Hortons is serving up patriotic food. On the menu: a doughnut smothered in poutine and an Iced Capp coffee drink topped with whipped cream, maple flakes and bacon bits.

But before you get excited — or nauseous — take note: These Canadian-inspired delights won't be available in Canada.

On July 1, they'll only be served up at select Tim Hortons in the U.S.

"Our new Canadian-inspired treats are a great way for Americans to get in on the 150th celebration of their friendly neighbour next door," Felipe Athayde, with Tim Hortons U.S., said in a statement.

The coffee chain is also offering U.S. customers an Iced Capp topped with bacon bits and maple flakes. (Tim Hortons)

The American-only offerings are already stirring up discussion on both sides of the border via social media. Some Canadians are wondering why they don't get access to the treats created for their own country's birthday.

"Only available in the States to celebrate Canada's 150th????? WTF????" griped one person on Facebook.

"So not very Canadian," complained someone else.

"They made a poutine donut … and it's only available in America?" blasted another person. "I say we make an Apple Pie donut and no Americans can have one!!!"

Canadians get Dutchie doughnut

Canadians do have their own celebratory Tim Hortons menu for Canada 150 — but it's much tamer.

Both Canadians and Americans are being offered maple Timbits. And for a limited time, Canuck customers can also sink their teeth into a white and red velvet muffin, a Dutchie doughnut and a Nanaimo bar doughnut.

When CBC News asked Tim Hortons why the Canadian and American menus differ for the same celebration, the coffee chain responded that it strives to offer customers exciting new products in different markets.

"We're confident our guests will be delighted by our Canada 150 offerings both north and south of the border," a Tim Hortons spokesperson said in an email.

The 150 treats being offered in Canada include a much tamer Nanaimo bar doughnut and a white and red velvet muffin. (Tim Hortons)

Marketing expert Marvin Ryder suggests the chain chose more stereotypical Canadian treats for the U.S. market. Not many Americans may know that the Nanaimo bar is named after the B.C. city, however, it's well-known that poutine originated in Quebec.

"If you ask Americans what Canadian cuisine do they know, the one thing they rhyme off is poutine," said the McMaster University professor.

Americans may recognize poutine as a Canadian classic but that doesn't mean they have to like it on a doughnut.

After Tim Hortons unveiled the lineup of treats, Americans also took to social media — with many expressing distaste for the poutine doughnut in particular.

"Who the hell thought this was a good idea," posted one person on Facebook.

"That's just gross," chimed in someone else.

"Only a Canadian would find that trash appetizing," commented another person.

Everybody using Canada 150

Many companies are going big with marketing campaigns tied to Canada's milestone birthday.

Roots clothing has a Canada 150 collection that includes a red T-shirt displaying the word "nice," in reference to our friendly dispositions. And KFC Canada has changed its name to K'ehFC for the summer, in honour of the Canadian colloquialism.

As part of its Canada 150 campaign, Roots is selling a T-shirt that references our friendly dispositions. (Roots)

In Canada, Tim Hortons is not only doling out special treats, but has also launched another "Roll Up The Rim" contest, with prizes that include 10 Canadian vacations.

Tim Hortons likely planned its Canadian 150 marketing campaign well in advance, Ryder suggests. But he believes it hastily put together the U.S. one — relegated to select stores and a few treats — as an afterthought.

"I suspect with the new ownership not being all that Canadian, I'm not sure 150 means all that much to 3G [Capital] out of Brazil, or to any American people," he said.

3G Capital, a Brazilian investment firm, took control of the once Canadian-owned Tim Hortons chain in 2015. The chain has since expanded its U.S. presence and opened restaurants overseas including in Scotland.

In its one location in Scotland, Tim Hortons will be selling this red and white doughnut to mark Canada 150. (Twitter/Tim Hortons)

Tim Hortons is also marking Canada's birthday in Scotland by offering one limited-edition item: a doughnut with red and white sprinkles. Yet even this rather subdued treat has created a bit of a stir, leaving some U.K. fans feeling slighted.

That's because Tim Hortons also plans to set up a truck in London's Trafalgar Square on July 1 for Canada Day celebrations — but will only be serving up coffee and Timbits.

About the Author

Sophia Harris

Business reporter

Sophia Harris has worked as a CBC video journalist across the country, covering everything from the start of the annual lobster fishery in Yarmouth, N.S., to farming in Saskatchewan. She now has found a good home at the business unit in Toronto. Contact: sophia.harris@cbc.ca

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.