When I tell people that Tim Horton’s is my favourite place on earth, most of them feel sorry for me. No one seems to understand how a coffee shop can have such a huge impact on one’s life, and while I struggle to explain it, I know that nothing can replace that huge part of my heart reserved for a large coffee (2 milk) and one chocolate timbit. What follows is a list of reasons why I’m obsessed with Canada’s favourite coffee chain, and it doesn’t take a psychologist to conclude that my love affair is based less on coffee than nostalgia.
1. Kitch & The Million Dollar Baby- Since I was one or two, my mother and I used to visit the Tim Hortons at the Pine Plaza across from the Pen Centre Mall, in hopes to see an Italian man named Kitch there. Kitch couldn’t get over how thick and curly my hair was given my age, and he named me the million dollar baby. Every time he saw me he bought me two extra large chocolate chunk cookies. One day, years later, mom overheard his friends saying he had passed away. Although we never saw Kitch again, I still think of him every time I eat a chocolate chunk cookie.
2. The Trick to A Good Night’s Sleep- Whenever I had a hard time falling asleep, mom had this one infallible trick up her sleeve: She would drive me to Tim Horton’s late at night and order a cookie through the drive-thru. I usually passed out before we arrived but just knowing that a cookie was on its way helped me get to sleep.
3. Good Tidings- My father taught me to believe that everything tastes better when it’s free. We grew up never taking anything for granted and always appreciating a great deal, which is why around 4pm every Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, we would stop by the TIm Horton’s on Pine Street, Thorold, (or whichever one hadn’t run out of food yet!) and the friendly staff would give away the rest of their baked goods before closing the store for the holiday. So many of my Christmas Eve dinners were spent eating blueberry muffins.
4. Pay It Forward- I can’t remember how many times a Tim Horton’s worker has said to me, “That man/woman paid for your drink.” There’s just something about Tim Horton’s that makes people want to give, share, and really be part of the community.
5. Lost and Found- About three years ago, I was driving home from my friends farm in Dunnville on Halloween night. It was around two A.M and I was incredibly lost. In my travels I had almost run over two deers, drove into a tree because there were no streetlights, and nearly fell asleep at the wheel twice. I had no GPS and no sense of direction (still don’t). I had been driving for over an hour, which is longer than it takes to get from Dunnville to my old home, when finally I saw a small building in the distance. I prayed that it was open at that late hour. As it came into view, I saw the unmistakable Tim Horton’s sign and immediately felt safe. The friendly employee gave me a free coffee to help wake me up and thorough directions back home (I was an hour in the wrong direction). This was just one of those times when Tim’s was there for me when I needed it the most!
6. Canadian- Most importantly, Tim Horton’s is the only thing that can make me forget I am living on the other side of the world. Today is November 16th in Australia. It’s hot, it’s summer, and we had a hail storm this afternoon and people were shouting, “This must be what snow looks like!” But as I stood there drinking my Pumpkin Spice tea, somehow I felt like I was back home in St. Catharines, on a cold winter afternoon, waiting for the snow to fall.
It’s not about the coffee, because I can go months without coffee and years without timbits. It’s about feeling like you’re part of something bigger, like a family, a town, a country, and knowing that you all share this wonderful sense of identity, this place we call home.