How to Spot a Canadian

Tracking down Canadians one toque at a time.

About this Site...

Canadians are a tricky people to distinguish. They are often able to blend into a society and appear to be American, British, French or any other number of nationalities. This site will provide you with some tips and tricks to help you recognize a Canadian no matter where you are.


This site is for entertainment purposes only. "How to Spot a Canadian" is filled with humour, satire, hyperbole, parody and sarcasm. All statements here should be taken with a grain of salt or a bottle of maple syrup, whatever the case may be.

Paper Coffee Cups Provide One of the Most Exciting Times of the Year

First of all, that commercial above is genius. If this website was going to get into the advertising business that is exactly the kind of commercial we would produce. Actually, if we were going to get into the amusement park business Canada Land would definitely be our first investment. There's no better way to catch Canadians than by creating an entire park for them to play in.

By now everyone knows that Canadians love Tim Hortons. What people do not know is that a Canadian's love of Tim Hortons is so strong that they will complete the most redundant and ridiculous tasks out of love for the company.

Hence the promotion known as "Roll Up the Rim to Win" (or more accurately "Rrrrrrroll Up the Rrrrrrrrim to Win.")

If you ever want to see two Canadians come to blows over a paper cup, this is your contest.

The premise is simple. For a limited time each year the rim on Tim Hortons paper cups can be rolled up to reveal a possible prize. The prizes range from cars and bikes to cash and barbecues to free Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts. Canadians love this contest. Every year when the bright red cups with the giant yellow arrows on them start to appear it's like a second Christmas has struck Canada. People go crazy, buying coffees and rolling up rims.

A "Roll Up the Rim to Win" cup is second only to the Stanley Cup (and possibly the Grey Cup) in terms of valuable Canadian cups.

Unfortunately, very few of these cups are winners. It's a Canadian rite of passage to excitedly roll up the rim on a cup of Tim Hortons coffee only to see the words "PLEASE PLAY AGAIN." It's like they're sitting there mocking you. They're laughing at your failure. They're shattering your dreams.

Nothing, outside of badly played hockey game, causes feelings of anger inside a Canadian like a losing cup.

Actually, the only thing that brings more range and bitterness than a losing cup is a winning cup.

You would think that a winning cup would be a good thing. But you'd be wrong. Sure a winning cup is good if you bought it yourself, but many coffees are bought during a coffee run (locally known as a "Timmies Run.") This is when one person from a group of friends or a workplace goes out and gets coffees for everyone in their group. When a winning cup is produced from a coffee run the real chaos begins. Canadians start to argue about who paid for the coffee or who distributed the cups. Winning cups are so rare that every Canadian wants one. Sure, they might not need it but that free doughnut is theirs and no one is going to take it away! Canadians have even taken to lying about their wins in these situations. It is one of the only times you will see a Canadian be dishonest.

There have even been lawsuits due to the prize-winning cups.

In 2006 a 10-year-old girl found a Tim Hortons coffee cup in the garbage. The rim had not been rolled up. Finding an unrolled-up rim is like discovering gold for a Canadian, even a 10-year-old knows that. Unfortunately, the girl had not yet completed her mandatory Canadian roll up training and thus she was unable to roll up the rim on her own. She asked a 12-year-old friend to help her. This was her mistake. She allowed an unrolled-up cup to leave her hands. When the 12-year-old rolled up the rim she found that the cup was a winner. The girls had won an SUV.

Of course, when their parents found out they both claimed ownership of the winning cup. It got more confusing when the janitor that had originally thrown out the cup claimed that the car should be his. He even requested a DNA test to prove that his spit remains were still on the cup! How the janitor, who claimed to be Canadian, allowed an unrolled up cup out of his grasp will never be known.

Tim Horton's eventually awarded the prize to the girl who found the cup and her family.

A good way to spot a Canadian is to buy a coffee from Tim Hortons. Empty out the coffee (we suggest you should do this by drinking it.) Leave the rim unrolled and place it on the sidewalk. Any Canadians in the immediate area will sense that a Tim Hortons cup has been discarded unrolled and will charge for the cup. The people that charge are Canadians.

You can now track Roll Up The Rim To Win stats with our Tim Hortons Roll Up Victory Tracker
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  1. Dana said...

    This is soo hilariously true. Just yesterday one of my friends bought our coffees at Tim's and before we started drinking them she brought up what would occur if my cup was a winner. We agreed that if it was a food/beverage prize I could keep it, if it was a large physical prize like the SUV she'd get to keep it, and if it was the $10 000 we'd split it.

    It was a Please Play Again.

  2. said...

    "Please Play Again" are the worst.

  3. mare said...

    As a proud Canadian, I'm ashamed to admit the following:

    I've not had or been to Timmies since my nutritionist analyzed the coffee 10 plus years ago and showed me how well it compared to water from the Detroit River. No wonder its addictive - chemicals are.

    That aside, I was sitting in a business meeting on Monday wondering why all but me were chewing on a Timmie cup after lunch. I saw that and kinda queased until this reminder. Please Play Again. Thanks.

  4. freetheunicorns said...

    As a fellow Canuck, all I can say about this blog is awesome. Normally stereotypes piss me off, but these are true, and something to be proud of.

  5. Sean Donland said...

    As my fellow Canadian Unicorn friend said, this site is great. (His was better)

    I'm beginning to form a theory about Tim Hortons and Mind Control. There's something unnerving about the hold this company, this now American owned company, has over people.

  6. said...

    Update: I'm 0-14 in Roll up the Rim this year.

  7. Darcie Springall - Humber College Journalism student said...

    My dad is 9/9 so far.
    He had a really lucky (and apparently free-coffee-filled) week last week.

    I LOVE when Smile Cookies are at Timmies. Soooo yummy.

  8. Treasures By Brenda said...

    Great story and absolutely true. Too bad though that this Tim Horton's promotion centers around paper cups that are not recycled. The contest surely generates an extra pile of garbage...if only Tim Horton's could decide to be a leader in environmental issues...definitely would make rolling the rim difficult though, wouldn't it?

    What do you think about Toronto's initiative to ban paper coffee cups? I would be thrilled if you would visit my page Ban Paper Coffee Cups and leave your opinion.


  9. Anonymous said...

    I love this site as well. Please keep updating!

    Although, that one post of what the person's system is like after drinking coffee for 10+ yrs scares me. I practically survived on that stuff through high school and uni!!

    As for my timmies count? For awhile I was going 4/5! Nothing like a free timmies coffee! I'm beginning to wonder if I should have it hooked up intravenously.

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