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Iconic Identities – Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons the Canadian coffee and donut giant

Iconic Identities - Tim Hortons
We’re all familiar with the Tim Hortons logo because it’s a huge fixture of Canadian life. Timmy’s brand, coffee and donuts have become a Canadian cultural icon and for the most part, we don’t think much about it because it’s such a huge part of our daily lives and culture. But you’ll be sure to find one on every other corner of our town and city streets, just like the Canada Post logo. ‘Cept this brand speaks differently to our fellow Canadians. It’s a place to gather with friends and family and enjoy a cup of coffee and donuts. Canadian actress, Cobie Smulder from, How I met Your Mother, says it’s the “most Canadian place in the universe.” I believe this to be true.

The Story of Tim Hortons

Many of us know the story of Tim Hortons. For those of you that don’t, here’s a quick bio on him. Back in the first days donut shop days, we saw photos of the great hockey player Tim Horton adorning the walls of the coffee shop. My first history lesson on Tim Horton was from my dad, who told me as I drank orange pop, sitting on a stool at a Tim Hortons counter probably when I was about 8 years old. He told me how he was a famous Maple Leafs hockey player who died in a car accident one winter. My dad said, “He told his team members he wanted to open a coffee and donut shop and they all laughed at him. But he did it anyway.” That kind of attitude didn’t register with me, ‘cause as I kid I couldn’t see why anyone would laugh. I mean, the place was always packed and they had yummy treats for me to eat.


Tim Hortons Original Logo

And here’s some tidbits of the Tim Hortons history my dad didn’t divulge to the 8 year old me. Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, offering two products – coffee and donuts. The two highlighted and most popular donuts were the Apple Fritter and the Dutchie, and still are to this day. I personally have a thing for the Apple Fritter and I’m don’t think I’m the only one.

Tim Horton was born in Cochrane, Ontario, Canada and signed to the Leafs in 1949 ‘as one of the steadiest defensement on the blueline throughout his 22 years in the National Hockey League’ according to the Tim Hortons website. But Tim realized one day his hockey career would end and so he looked for another prosperous opportunity, deciding to give the coffee and donut business a go.

The Tim Horton’s website writes, “Sadly, Tim did not live to witness the chain’s great success. He was traveling back to Buffalo from a game at Maple Leaf Gardens when he was killed in an automobile accident on February 21, 1974. The Buffalo Sabres retired his Number 2 sweater as a tribute to his memory. At the time of Tim’s death, there were 40 Tim Hortons restaurants.


Who Designed the Tim Hortons Logo

Tim Hortons Logo

Tim Hortons Logo

Well no other than the man himself was responsible for the logo creation. The iconic identity of Tim Hortons is based on his signature. We’ve seen logo elements take many changes over the years, but the simple handwritten font script never changes on signage, mugs, paper cups, paper bags and other packaging.



Tim Hortons – Always Fresh

The Tim Horton Logo Elements

We’ve seen a few different versions of the logo for the Tim Hortons iconic identity. But the identity always carries the handwritten script font, Tim Hortons, usually in red, but sometimes reversed in white on a red oval. You’re probably familiar with the logo on the paper coffee cups too, where Tim Hortons is surrounded by a yellow oval with a red outline, and the tagline “Always Fresh”.


The Tim Hortons Brand

Tim Hortons is a brand we have incorporated into our lives with icon phrases for work breaks, like “Wanna go for a Timmy’s run?” and how about a “Timmy break!” or when you’re on the go, “Stopping at Tim’s. Want something?”. If you’re not Canadian, most people would ask, “Who’s Tim?” But every Canadian knows who the iconic Tim is.


Tim Hortons – New York Version of the Logo


Here’s something to blow your mind – Tim Hortons specifically geared the brand to a New York demographic. Tim hortons is branded in an old fashioned dinner signage shapes, to catch the eyes of all the NY coffee drinkers. Check out how Tim Hortons Becomes a Coffee and Bake Shop in New York, by Skylar Challand.

Tell us about some of your favorite iconic Identities. Or tell us what you think about the iconic Tim Hortons identity. Leave us your comments in the section below.

Actually - Signature

  1. I loved reading the above about Tim Horton’s. This is the best coffee in the world, and believe me, I know coffee. Recently, our local supermarket, Hannaford’s, in Utica, NY, just started selling Tim Horton’s K-CUPS-the best coffee ever. It used to be that I could only get Timmies if I was in Canada, in Penn Station in NYC, or Geneseo, NY. So good to know that I can just get Timmies in Utica, NY now. However, we do not have a Tim Horton’s in Utica, NY. C’mon bring those Timbits to Utica, NY.

    What a great talent and beautiful man-rest in peace, Tim Horton, and God bless always.


  2. Have you ever considered opening a shop in Whitehall, MI? There is a corner space in the Plumbs Plaza that had been a coffee shop when it first opened. Tin Horton comes highly recommended even over Star Bucks. You can contact Del Underwood or The Whitehall Township for more information.
    A resident of Whitehall


  3. As a school bus driver, a little note there are thousands of us in canada. I would like to see a gift card with a school bus and you could put an apple and 2+2= for an example then it could be used for either a teacher or a school bus driver. We love timmies cards we can also eat and or beverages. please promote us 2 times a year XMAS on end of school. Thank you. a Tim Horton fan.


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