For those of you not from Canada, Tim Horton’s is a coffee shop franchise. In some big cities there is one on almost every corner. And most towns that have a population over 100 have one (I am exaggerating a bit here). This is my weekly column dedicated to Tim’s:
I have been frequenting Tim Horton’s more lately. When once I may have darkened the coffee shop’s door perhaps once a month, I am probably there twice a week now. Here are a few things I have learned from going to the Canadian icon a little more often:
1. They serve a lot more than coffee. Although I love the smell of the coffee, the dark liquid has lost a lot of its magic for me since I stopped making it into coffee syrup by adding upwards of 3 teaspoons of sugar. I now mostly drink their steeped tea and on occasion when I am feeling like I need a little comfort I turn to their hot chocolate. I like the small cup of hot chocolate though. I mistakenly ordered a medium the other day and could not finish it. (Personally I think it was the guilt factor—it was warm and sweet and chocolaty, therefore it could not be good for you.) My new drink of choice is the chai latte. Yum. Please don’t tell me it is bad for me.
2. If you go to the local Tim’s you will see a lot of people you know. You will also see a lot of people you don’t know, which is puzzling since I have lived in this area most of my life. Spent a few years in Windsor when I was going to school there, but other than that I have haunted this area for more years than I will reveal here. I find it surprising since I think I am related to half of the municipality.
3. While the warm drinks (and cold in the summer) are good, it is the camaraderie I like in particular (and in general if truth be known). And there are people from all walks of life—from bundled up babies, toddlers sipping hot chocolate, kids spooning soup, teenagers eating their lunch, young parents out for a coffee break, travellers stopping by for something to take on the road, groups who meet for coffee after some other activity, to people like me, who are there for a few laughs with friends.
4. I like that some people come in alone and just sit and have a drink of something warm. Or they work a little. Or they come by to see if any of their cohorts are there. I have often thought that it would be a good place to sit and write. Years ago I tried this but found I am one of those people who need silence to write. I am too easily distracted. So it is probably a good place to write for some. But not for me.
5. On Facebook today, I saw two images. One was of people digging out of the east coast snow storm. They were making some headway, but not a lot. The other showed someone who was making their way through deep snow with strong determination. The caption under that picture: “a Newfoundlander on their way to Tim Horton’s”. I am just saying…….
6. Years ago I used to take my Dad to Tim Horton’s and sit at one of the tables in front of the windows. We would look out and comment on what we saw, and just enjoy each other’s company. He had just lost his wife, and I, my mom. But we found a bit of solace there, surrounded by the smell of coffee and life being lived. Today I sit in some of those same chairs with friends. And we talk and laugh and find solace in each other’s trials and tribulations and celebrate everyday happy things as well as those life occasions that must be marked.
7. The staff that I have had the occasion to come into contact with is fun, accommodating, and friendly. I like that the owner seems to decorate for every holiday occasion.
8. What don’t I like? Well, if I am honest—sometimes the smell of burnt cheese permeates the air and is a bit heavy—but that just adds to the ambiance. I could also say I don’t like the long line ups. But I kinda do. Cause you get to visit all those people in the line—and without fail they are friendly, and a lot of times you have made a new friend or two when you finally get to the front of the line.
9. I know there are Tim’s everywhere. Big cities, small towns. And sometimes out in the middle of nowhere. But they all feel small town. And I happen to think that is a good thing.
So the next time you are in Tim’s, just give me a shout. It is that kind of place–where you can shout out to your neighbours and friends without fear of reprisal.