Print this Post

The first Tim Hortons restaurant can still be found in Hamilton

June 2020

Tim Hortons is the iconic coffee shop that is often the first stop in the morning for many Canadians as they head off to work. The chain was founded by National Hockey League legend Tim Horton in 1964, with the first restaurant opening at 85 Ottawa Street North in Hamilton, Ontario.

Born in Cochrane, Ontario, in 1930, Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton played 24 seasons in the NHL, playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the New York Rangers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and finally the Buffalo Sabres.

As Horton played in an era when sports professionals weren’t as well paid as they are today, he undertook different business ventures to supplement his income, including a hamburger restaurant and a Studebaker auto dealership in Toronto, before opening his first coffee and donut shop in Hamilton.

In 1965, business man and ex-cop Ron Joyce took over running the Ottawa Street Tim Horton Donut Shop. It was a partnership that would lead to great things in the future.

Horton’s initial business partner, Jim Charade, left the company in 1966, but the following year, after opening two additional stores, Joyce became a full partner, and using his business knowledge, he and Horton began expanding the company even further.

After Tim Horton’s untimely death in a car crash on 21 February 1974, Joyce assumed full control of the company, and eventually succeeded in expanding the company into a multi-billion dollar business.

Joyce bought out Horton’s shares in the company from his widow, Lori, for $1 million, which given that the company was only worth around $1.8 million at the time, was a considerable sum. In 1993, Lori Horton ended up suing Joyce for a greater share of the company’s worth, but the lawsuit was dismissed two years later for the reasons that the $1 million was a fair price at the time, and that the net worth of the company by 1995 was largely due to Joyce’s business savvy.

It was also Joyce’s aggressive expansion of the Tim Hortons business that resulted in major changes to the Canadian coffee and donut restaurant market.

As of the end of 2018, Tim Hortons is Canada’s largest quick-service restaurant chain, with 4,846 restaurants operating in 14 countries. One restaurant even operated in Afghanistan during the Afghanistan War, something that was appreciated by Canadian and American personnel.

Today, the menu has expanded from the initial coffee and donut options, and now includes selections like bagels, muffins, soups, submarine sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches and specialty coffee.

The Tim Hortons company is now owned by Restaurants Brand International, an American-Canadian fast-food holding company, after having been previously owned by the Wendy’s hamburger chain, the company that Joyce sold it to in 1995.

Despite the change in ownership, the Horton/Joyce partnership in the company does continue to this day in the form of Ron Joyce Jr. and his wife, Jeri-Lynn Horton-Joyce, who are co-owners of Tim Hortons restaurants in Cobourg, Ontario.

The years have changed a lot of things, including the interior and exterior look of the Tim Hortons restaurants, and seen the deaths of Lori Horton in 2000 and Ron Joyce in 2019, but the original coffee and donut shop at 85 Ottawa Street North is still serving customers.

Tim and Ron should be proud.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Hortons, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Horton, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/tim-hortons-ron-joyce-died-1.5001820, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-a-role-model-for-our-region-tim-hortons-co-founder-ron-joyce-dies//

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/the-first-tim-hortons-restaurant-can-still-be-found-in-hamilton/

4 pings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>