July 25th, 2024

Tim Hortons celebrates its 60th birthday in 2024. Here’s a timeline of its history

By The Canadian Press on December 18, 2023.

A Tim Hortons coffee shop is shown in downtown Toronto on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Eduardo Lima

TORONTO – Tim Hortons is considered part of the fabric of Canada, but long before the chain became synonymous with the country, it had humble beginnings as a coffee and doughnut shop.

As the company turns 60 in 2024, this is a look back at its history.

May 17, 1964: The first Tim Hortons location opens in Hamilton, Ont.

Feb. 21, 1974: Founder and NHL defenceman Tim Horton dies in a car accident at 44, while travelling back to Buffalo from Toronto after a hockey game between the Sabres and Maple Leafs.

Tims franchisee Ron Joyce later becomes sole owner of the chain, when he buys out the stake in the business held by Lori Horton, TimHorton’swife, for $1 million and a Cadillac Eldorado. Lori Horton later lost a court challenge disputing the sale.

1976: Tims debuts bite-sized doughnuts it dubs Timbits.

March 3, 1983: The first non-smoking Tim Hortons location opens in Hamilton, Ont.

1984: Tims enters the U.S. with its first store in Tonawanda, N.Y.

1986: The restaurant launches its firstRoll up the Rim to Win promotional contest.

1993: Tims begins selling sandwiches. Ads show they cost between $2.69 and $3.49 and come in varieties including ham and cheese.

Aug. 8, 1995: American fast food company Wendy’s International Inc. purchases Tim Hortons.

1996: Bagels make their debut on the Tims menu. They sold for about $1.49, plus tax, commercials show. The company also runs its first Smile cookie campaign.

1999: Tims starts selling the iced cappuccino. An ad shows a small costs $1.69 plus tax.

July 2004: The Canadian Oxford Dictionary adds “double-double” – a coffee with two creams and two sugars that is popular at Tims – to its lexicon.

July 29, 2005:Wendy’s announces plans to sell 15 to 18 per cent of Tims in an initial public offering.

2006: Tims introduces hot breakfast sandwiches.

March 2006:Tim Hortons raises almost $800 million in an initial public offering priced at $27 per share.

Sept. 28, 2009: Tims announces it has reorganized its corporate structure and the business is spun off to become a public company.

2009: The restaurant partners with Cold Stone Creamery to add the ice cream brand’s products to some of its restaurants. The brand was pulled from Tims locations in Canada in February 2014.

Aug. 26, 2014: Tims and 3G Capital’s Burger King Worldwide Inc. sign a deal to merge and form a parent company called Restaurant Brands International.

March 27, 2017: Restaurant Brands says it has enough shares of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. to complete its US$1.8-billion friendly takeover of the fast food chain.

Jan. 10, 2018: Protesters rally outside Tims locations chanting, “Hold the sugar, hold the cream, Tim Hortons don’t be mean.” The demonstration is meant to show support for employees after some franchisees cut benefits and break times following an Ontario minimum wage increase.

May 10, 2018: Then-Tims president Alex Macedo says he is prepared to make amends with a dissident franchisee group the company spent months sparring with over everything from cost-cutting measures to delays in supply deliveries to renovations the firm said would cost store owners $450,000 per restaurant.

April 2018: Tims announces it will move its headquarters from Oakville, Ont., to Toronto.

May 30, 2018: The restaurant says it will pilot all-day breakfast at a handful of Hamilton and Burlington, Ont. locations.

Jan. 6, 2020: Tims announces it will sell Timbits cereal in chocolate glazed and birthday cake flavours in grocery stores. The company has also dabbled with selling granola bars, ice cream and canned soup in supermarkets.

Feb. 2020: Tims makes Roll up the Rim to Win a fully-digital contest, cutting out the work of unravelling coffee cups and renames the promotion Roll up to Win.

April 21, 2021: Tims promises its core menu will be free of artificial colours, flavours or preservatives by the end of the year.

Sept. 30, 2021: Tims launches its first orange sprinkle doughnut campaign in support of Indigenous charities and residential school survivors.

Nov. 15, 2021: Restaurant Brands announces it has signed a deal to acquire sandwich company Firehouse Restaurant Group Inc. for US$1 billion.

Nov. 29, 2021: Tims launches a partnership with Stratford, Ont.-bred pop star Justin Bieber. As part of the deal, Tims sells three “Timbiebs” Timbits – chocolate white fudge, sour cream chocolate chip, and birthday cake waffle flavours. Limited edition beanies, fanny packs, and tote bags are also released.

June 1, 2022: The federal privacy commissioner along with counterparts in British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta find Tims violated the law by tracking the movements of and recording people who downloaded the company’s app.

June 22, 2023: Tims introduces its decadent Dream Cookies.

Aug. 5, 2023: Tims launches its first-ever boat-thru on Ontario’s Lake Scugog. For one weekend, visitors float by in motorized boats, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and even a buoyant car to pick up cold drinks.

Nov. 30, 2023: Tims announces it has its first zero-tailpipe emissions electric transport truck making deliveries in southwestern Ontario.

May 17, 2024: Tims to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

– By Tara Deschamps

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 18, 2023.

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