The coffee shop has long been synonymous with Canada, but bad press and changing tastes have hurt it – and then there was the poop incident

“It’s your first time in Canada? Oh, you have to try Timmies,” a former colleague informed me, when I landed in Toronto for a business trip several years ago. There was a Tim Hortons next to us in arrivals and before I’d even exited the airport I had a red and white cup in my hand and knew exactly what a double-double was.

Tim Hortons is a famously Canadian brand. It’s not just a corporation – it’s a cultural icon which elicits an extraordinary passion, entirely incommensurate with its unremarkable product. (While talking to people for this article the highest praise anyone would give Tim Hortons coffee when it came to its quality was “it’s fine”.) According to the coffee and fast-food chain, eight out of 10 cups of coffee sold across Canada are from Timmies.

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