Saturday, February 26, 2011

Canadian Culture: Lesson 1

The purpose of this post is to help non-Canadians have a better grasp of what life is like North of 49. Our culture is much richer and deeper than the stereotypical images of hockey players and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers dressed in red serge. Today I would like to broaden your view of Canadians. I would like for you to think past maple syrup and beavers. Forget about visions of snow and ice.

Today I would like to draw your attention to an important area of Canadian life that has often been overlooked in the foreign press. This is an area in which we excel. In fact, we are number one in the world. If I am not talking about hockey you are no doubt wondering what I could possibly be referring to. Drumroll please........


Yes, Canadians consume more donuts than anyone else in the world. Not surprisingly, given our penchant for eating these harbingers of disease and premature death, we also have more donut stores per capita than any other country on the planet.

The number one supplier of our donut habit happens to be Tim Hortons. This popular chain extends from one end of the country to the other. There is not a segment of our society that hasn't been touched by their influence. They have set up shop at the Canadian Forces base in Afghanistan to serve our troops. And a few years ago when some terrorists in Ontario were practicing their maneuvers in the middle of the winter and got cold it was a local Tim Hortons they ducked into to warm up.

In this country that is one donut hole away from a major cardiac event, there is a time we as a people look forward to with great anticipation. As the last blasts of winter blow their way through our communities the anticipation builds. It is late February and that can mean only one thing. Roll Up The Rim To Win is back!

Every medium or large coffee or tea purchased at Tim Hortons during the Roll Up The Rim To Win event has something printed just under the rim. Prizes include cars, TVs, bikes, gift cards, drinks, and - no surprise here - donuts. If you are having your drink in one of their mugs no worries. They still give you an empty paper cup so you can play.

I always look forward to Roll The Rim time. This defies all logic. The biggest thing I have ever won is a drink or a donut. And in case any Canadians are reading I have to say this next part very quietly lest I be considered blasphemous....I don't really like their tea or coffee. However, there is always the hope, faint though it might be, that this time I will actually be a winner.

 So it is with great anticipation that I start to unroll that rim.

 Only to discover that, once again, I am a loser.

Wait. Let me check what it says in French. Bonne chance to me!

How depressing. Apparently I am a loser in both of Canada's official languages.

I am pleased to say that at least there was one winner from my visit to Tim Hortons. My husband. He got to eat the donuts because I don't really like them either.


  1. I almost fainted at your last comment, but caught myself.

    Timmy's is an institution in Canada. My son loves their soups, and doughnuts from Timmy's are always a hit. In fact, a gift card for Timmy's is the perfect birthday or Christmas gift around here!

  2. I used to guzzle their coffee when I worked there (as a Canadian, is it mandatory that your first job be Tim Hortons as well?) and liked it, but now I don't drink coffee at all, and reliable sources tell me their coffee isn't that great (anymore?).
    As for their donuts, I will take a Krispy Kreme over a Boston Cream any day...but I do have a soft spot for the Sour Cream Glazed...especially in Timbit form (that's a donut hole, for you non-Canadians!).
    I hope I will not be deported for this.

  3. @kate- Sorry to be the cause of a near fainting episode. :-) Maybe I should issue a warning to Canadians to be sitting down when they read my post.

    @PJ- Actually, I think you are in grave danger of being deported. As am I.

  4. Now that Hannah is no longer with us to inform the family on the infamous beginning of roll up the rim, I missed its start up. But I always order a bran muffin when I go there; donuts aren't my favorite treat. But traditions are traditions - when are we meeting there for a knitting session? :) It was my knitting friends who introduced me to RUTR in the first place.

  5. Mmmmmmm... Honey dipped Timbits...

  6. I thought the coffee was just fine - I equated it (roughly) with America's Dunkin Donuts coffee, which I like quite a bit.

    Although, if you don't have a maple-glazed donut ... now that's Canadian blasphemy. :)

  7. I bought my first RUTRTW cup of tea of the season this week, and won a donut!! And then promptly left the cup behind when I left the store. So, some other lucky person gets a free donut.

    I don't drink much caffeinated coffee anymore, and more often than not, they don't have any fresh decaf, so I don't go there as much as I used to.

    What I do enjoy is quick trip through their drive through to get myself a coffee on- the-go once in a while.

    I'm no coffee connaisseur, so TH tastes fine to me. :)

  8. @Maureen- Maybe we should have our next tea time at Tim's so we can play Roll the Rim. Even if their tea isn't as good as Starbucks.

    @amelia- You have reminded me that I forgot to explain Timbits to my non-Canadian readers. It will now have to wait for another post. :-)

    @Voie de Vie- I have to say if there is one donut I am tempted by at Tim's it is that maple-glazed one.

    @Aneta- Oh no! I can't believe you left the cup behind. Rebekah used to check out the cups at TRU where the international students hung out. They often didn't know there was a contest going on and she would look for winning cups that were left behind.

  9. I love Tim Hortons. I don't remember how anything tasted, just that I was soooo amazed at how clean and wholesome the place and its employees seemed after having passed through Buffalo. I didn't want to leave. =)

    After the first two paragraphs I thought you were about introduce us to the the joy of being a lumberjack--I once wanted to be one. I'm a proud American, but I think part of me is really Canadian. =)

  10. @Ric- I think your glowing review of Tim's automatically earns you the right to a Canadian passport. :-)

  11. And I was under the impression, that American cops eat the most donuts in the world. Thanks for the lesson on culture, I want to know more :)

  12. Yep, I thought Americans were at least, stereotypically the largest consumers of donuts, its a common breakfast there as opposed to here, and there are the cops, and krispy kremes and twinkies and dunkin donuts...

  13. @MKL- I promise to have more Canadian cultural posts in the future. Funny you say that about American cops. It is a Canadian stereotype to think of our RCMP officers being at Tim Hortons. It is not at all unusual to see them inside having a coffee and a donut.

    @Jennifer- Twinkies must not be counted as a donut or you are right- they would surely be #1. They do have a lot of different donut franchises, but they aren't ubiquitous like they are in Canada.

  14. I have always eaten doughnuts...but not too many and Timmies are ok...I always thought that donuts were American. I like their coffee if I get to put the milk and sugar in...I like mine better.