Final exams are around the corner and the caffeine crave is in the air. The red and yellow cups that read “roll up the rim” can be identified instantly.
But is it really the caffeine craves or the chance to win a free doughnut that drives people to line up at the nearest Tim Hortons?
Christian Lakes is a fourth-year student majoring in History at St. Thomas University. He stops by Tim’s every day after the gym and before going to classes to get a small or medium coffee. It has become part of his routine since high school. Whenever he’d drive to school with his dad, even if they were a little bit late, they would stop for coffee.
He believes Tim Hortons has become part of the Canadian culture. “There’s lots of places where you can get coffee, but I think it has definitely become this icon thing where ‘it’s Tim Hortons coffee,’” Lakes said. “I’m not a coffee connoisseur, but it’s the idea of Tim’s rather than the actual product, for sure.”
He associates Tim Hortons with home and community.
But Todd Legere, fourth-year economics major at STU, thinks Tim Hortons has little to do with Canadian culture and more to do with how it’s advertised to be perceived that way.
Tim’s has become a regular staple in his life. There’s a Tim Hortons shop in the building where he studies and works, which he said, makes it quick and convenient.
“If I miss my breakfast, I get a bagel there, and if I’m feeling adventurous and I just got paid, I’ll get a sandwich,” he said.
He also said he’s very forgetful and usually leaves the coffee he made earlier that morning at home. He steps in line and orders a medium black coffee with one cream. Twice a day, from Tuesday to Friday.
For Andrea López, a third-year International Relations student from El Salvador, buying something from Tim Hortons is both a cultural experience and a matter of convenience.
Lopez has always been an avid coffee drinker, having at least three cups a day. But it wasn’t until she moved to Canada three years ago that she stopped making her own coffee and switched to purchasing from a coffee shop.
“At first, I didn’t drink [Tim Hortons] at all, to be honest. But then you get used to it, and then you add cream and the taste changes a little bit so then it becomes an addiction. Going to Tim’s becomes part of your life.”
She remembers the first time she had Tim Hortons. She had just landed in Toronto and a friend told her she wasn’t really in Canada until she tried Tim’s.
“When I bought my first Tim’s, I even remember I bought a medium French Vanilla, the cashier said “Now you can say you’re Canadian.” She immediately posted the picture on Instagram.
Be it culture or convenience, they all spend on average 25 dollars a week at Tim Hortons and have made it part of their daily routine.
The snow may melt, and roll up the rim season might end, but the lines at Tim’s will stay the same. Because soon, the warm coffee cups will be replaced by Ice Capps, not to keep us awake but to make the much anticipated summer heat tolerable.