We'll fly to the east, we'll fly to the west
There'll be no place we can't call our own
We'll fly to the north, we'll fly to the south
In the last 2 or 3 lines, we learned that the Tim Hortons fast-food restaurant chain ran afoul of federal law when it offered free donuts to those who voted in the 2012 election. Click here to read that post.
Ignorance is no excuse when it comes to complying with the law, but perhaps we should cut Tim Hortons a little slack given that the company was founded in and is still headquartered in Canada.
The company’s founder and namesake, Tim Horton, was barely 20 when he played his first National Hockey League game for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1950. He was still playing (for the Buffalo Sabres) 24 years later.
Horton was a defenseman who was believed by many to be the strongest man in the NHL. He played in seven NHL all-star games, and once appeared in 486 consecutive regular-season games. (That’s almost seven full seasons without missing a game.)
Sadly, Tim Horton was killed in a car accident in 1974 while he was driving back to Buffalo after a hockey game in Toronto.
Horton was driving a De Tomaso Pantera (which had been given to him by the Sabres’ management to entice him to return and play for the team in 1973-74) at a very high rate of speed at 4 AM when he lost control and flipped the car several times.
According to his autopsy (which was not released to the public until 2005), Horton’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit when he crashed.
In 1964, at the height of his career, Horton had opened the “Tim Horton Doughnut Shop” in Hamilton, Ontario. At the time of his death a decade later, he and his partner Ron Joyce owned 40 stores. Joyce bought out Horton’s widow for $1 million and a new Cadillac Eldorado, but she went to court years later in hopes of getting her half of the business back.
Today, Tim Hortons Inc. has over 3600 restaurants in Canada and hundreds more in the United States.
Canadians eat more donuts per capita than any other nation in the world, and most of the donuts they eat are from Tim Hortons. The company has twice as many stores in Canada as McDonald’s does, and its share of the Canadian coffee market is 62% – Starbucks has a paltry 7%.
I first encountered a Tim Hortons ten years ago in Delaware, Ohio – the home of Ohio Wesleyan University, where one of my daughters went to college. The company’s US stores are concentrated in states that border the Great Lakes – especially Michigan, Ohio, and New York.
Why isn’t the company name “Tim Horton’s”? Some people blame Québec’s requirement that signs be in French as well as English. French doesn’t use a possessive apostrophe s, so the company might have had to put both English (with an apostrophe) and French (no apostrophe) versions of its name on signs in Québec. To avoid that, the company decided to go by “Tim Hortons” – no apostrophe.
Those of you who wasted your hard-earned money on a ticket to the 1992 movie, Wayne’s World, may remember that Wayne and Garth used to hang out at a fictional “Stan Mikita’s Donuts,” which was clearly modeled on Tim Hortons:
(Stan Mikita, who played against Horton frequently during his 22 seasons with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, never owned a donut store.)
|Mikita's Donuts (from "Wayne's World")|
If “One Fine Morning” isn’t the best rock song to ever come out of Canada, I’d like to know what is. It was a big hit in 1971 for Lighthouse, a band that was formed in Toronto in 1968.
No one remembers Lighthouse today, but they played at Carnegie Hall, Fillmore East, Fillmore West, the Monterey and Newport Jazz Festivals, and the Isle of Wight festival (where they shared the stage with Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Chicago, the Who, and Joni Mitchell) before breaking up in 1976.
The band’s saxophone player, Howard Shore, went on to become the musical director for Saturday Night Live and a well-known film composer. He won three Academy Awards for his music for the Lord of the Rings movies.
Here’s “One Fine Morning”:
Click below to buy the song from Amazon: