Canadians love hockey. This isn’t an insider tip that will help you spot a Canadian, it’s a well-known fact. To a Canadian, hockey is a way of life. It’s what tea is to the British, what a kilt is to the Scottish or television violence is to the Americans. It’s part of their society.
So when someone who played professional hockey is somehow MORE FAMOUS for doing something else, it’s very strange. Very, very strange.
This paradox is central to the Candian identity. What paradox you ask? Well, the fact that Tim Horton, a former professional hockey player, is better known for creating a chain of coffee and doughnut shops than for his on ice career.
At first glance it’s confusing, scary even. Tim Horton spent 22 years in the NHL, playing most of those seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the most loved and hated teams in the league. He won the Stanley Cup four times in the blue and white. You would think that this would be enough to have him immortalized in Canadian history as a great hockey player.
But that’s not what happened.
You see, Canadians are a confusing bunch. That’s why it’s so difficult to spot them. Just when you think you’ve figured out their patterns and that you have your maple syrup-covered finger on the pulse of their lumberjack and igloo society, they change direction faster than a beaver in the spring.
You see, Tim Horton is far more famous for being the co-founder of “Tim Hortons,” a coffee and doughnut chain.
Tim Hortons, like many Canadian beer companies, has found a way to fully integrate their corporate branding into the fabric of Canadian society. Only in Canada would a soulless, multi-national corporation easily become a symbol of national pride. A Tim Hortons doughnut is like American apple pie. It’s a fixture of Canadian culture.
And, it is in this chain, between “double-doubles” and “Timbits,” that Tim Horton has found his immortality.
That last sentence probably made very little sense to non-Canadians. It’s okay. It’s mostly Canadian jibberish. A “double-double” isn’t a basketball term in this case. It refers to a coffee with two creams and two sugars. A “Timbit” is a ball of dough that has been deep fried and coated in sugar. Somehow, it’s actually less healthy than it sounds.
Those terms are central to the Tim Hortons culture and are great ways to spot Canadians.
If you reference either of those terms and get a response about basketball or a confused stare, the person you’re speaking with is not a Canadian. If your listener responds with “Oh yeah, I’ll take a apple fritter and a dutchie too, eh” then that person is a Canadian.
Note: In this case “dutchie” is a type of doughnut, not a drug reference. Like we’ve said before, Canadians are sneaky with their slang.
Another good way to spot a Canadian is to say something like “Starbucks makes the best coffee on earth.” If someone screams “NO WAY! TIMMIES IS THE BEST!” and tries to fight you, that person is a Canadian.