Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tim Hortons - A Canadian Institution

At first glance, it may look like any other donut joint in the US, the northern equivalent of a Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme. But Tim Hortons is much more than a donut shop; it has become a truly Canadian institution, a quirky part of our unique culture and our day-to-day lives. Olympic visitors can share a taste of Canada... not to mention some really great food!

Taken from www.timhortons.com

About the restaurant: The franchise is named after Tim Horton, a hockey player – what else? – who started up the chain with a partner back in the Sixties. Since then, it has grown in leaps and bounds to become the largest Canadian fast food chain, with twice as many outlets as McDonalds. The restaurants are clean and cozy, usually with plenty of seating space. As with most fast-food places, orders are both placed and collected at the counter. Service is friendly and usually fast; even lengthy lunchtime queues move quickly. Eat-in Tim Hortons have come favourite gathering places for Canadians of all ages; expect to see plenty of locals chatting together over a warm coffee and bowl of soup.

The food: Tim Hortons initially gained fame for two things: its coffee and its donuts. But since then, they’ve expanded into hearty, simple lunch fare that’s winning over plenty of people. A selection of soups, sandwiches and bagels are on offer. My personal recommendations are the chilli – mild, but very meaty and flavourful – and the turkey bacon club sandwich – served with crispy bacon and a sweet and tangy honey mustard sauce. I especially love their bread rolls! A lot of my friends also swear by the bagels and other baked goods. Their breakfast sandwiches have also proven very popular. Their most recent addition to the menu, French Onion soup, is also gaining fans quickly. In general, expect to have an excellent breakfast or lunch no matter what your personal preference!

And what about the coffee and donuts? While the coffee has its detractors, it’s light years better than other fast food options, and its superior flavour combined with its low price has made it a mainstay of most Canadians; annual ad campaigns dwell lovingly on its universal appeal, and the phrase “double double” (a Tim Hortons coffee with two creams and two sugars) has become a part of our language. As for the donuts, they’re always fresh and tasty, with plenty of traditional favourites like Boston Cream and apple fritters, along with unusual choices such as maple cream and honey crueller (a light, melt in your mouth honey donut). The most famous offering is Timbits, a pack of donut holes in various flavours and sizes; they’re packed perfectly for travel, making them the ideal choice for a snack to take back to your hotel room!

Taken from www.timhortons.com

My favourites: Turkey Bacon Club, Apple Fritter, Boston Cream, Honey Crueller, assorted Timbits.

Cost: Perfect for a tight budget. Coffee is just over a buck, and a sandwich combo (coffee, sandwich and a donut) goes for five to seven bucks depending on the size. A family of three can eat very well for under $20 Canadian.

Take-out?: Yes, at all locations. Also, many street locations have drive-thru.

Delivery?: No.

Licensed?: No.

Location(s): All over Vancouver, but especially in mall food courts. Link to Google Maps

Website and menus: Here. Note that the website menu does not include prices, as they vary based on region.

Summary: If you want to come home from the Olympics able to boast that you’ve been somewhere really Canadian, then a trip to “Timmy’s”  is a must.

Tim Hortons (Fairview) on Urbanspoon
Tim Hortons (Pacific Centre) on Urbanspoon


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