Burger King + Tim Hortons = Canadians Sobbing Into Their Double Doubles
Unless you’ve been living under a Triple Whopper his week, you’ve probably heard that Burger King and Tim Hortons are gettin’ hitched (with a dowry of $11 Billion, no less).
Depending which side of the 49th parallel you reside on, this is either great news or terrible news. This is because, to extend the wedding metaphor, Tim Hortons (inventor of Timbits!) is everyone’s dream girl, and Burger King (home of the Bacon Sundae!) is about as handsome and charming as a dirty boot draped over a coat rack.
It just ain’t meant to last.
What (or Who) is Tim Hortons?!
If you’re asking that question, you’ve clearly never
been to Canada met a Canadian heard of Canada (as in the country).
To put it simply: Tim Hortons is part-restaurant and part-Canadian national institution. Now a casual dining juggernaut, it began humbly with a single donut shop in 1964. Back then, a coffee and doughnut cost 15¢ and “Tim Bits” referred only to Tim’s genitals.
To say that Tim Hortons is Canada’s most popular fast food restaurant is akin to saying that the Sun is Earth’s most popular source of light. They have more locations in Canada than McDonalds and Starbucks combined. They sell 8 of every 10 cups of coffee north of the border. They are the primary reason the average Canadian consumes 3 times the number of doughnuts as their American counterparts.
For Canada, Tim Hortons is more than a place to get lunch—it’s deeply, deeply entrenched in the national psyche. From its noted patronage to curling (the only Olympic sport for drunken fatsos) to its founding by a hockey legend, Timmys couldn’t be more Canadian if it drove a zamboni dripping in gravy.
But nationalism is not the only reason why so many Canucks are less than thrilled with the announced merger. The main issue is that it is not a marriage of equals.
So what’s the matter with Burger King?
If Tim Hortons has positioned itself as distinctly Canadian, then Burger King is the embodiment of America in all its morbidly obese glory. Whereas Tim Hortons specializes in fresh coffee and light snacks, Burger King specializes in bacon sundaes and half-pound cheeseburgers. Just this month, Burger King pumped the brakes on their lower-fat fry option, Satisfries, and re-upped production on fries made of fried chicken.
Since the brands are so different, there is worry that the merger will change how each does business. In Canada, the hope is that the change comes from the (geographic) top-down, because it would be a shame to lose another distinctly Canadian icon.
Sadly, it appears we’re headed toward a Whopper with a Glazed Maple Doughnut bun sooner than later. And if Tim Hortons’ destiny is to have BK eventually change the slogan from “Always Fresh” to “Always Boiled In Lard,” then the merger will truly be a moment that will forever live in infamy for Canadians.
Decades from now, Canucks everywhere will still remember exactly where they were when they heard the news. They’ll also remember exactly which Timmy’s doughnut they were having at the time, because that’s probably what they were eating. Author’s Note: I was having a Dutchie.
Ned Petrie is a Toronto-based actor, writer and 4-time Canadian Comedy Award nominee. He hosts The Panel Show, co-stars on Crack Duck (Mondo Media) and co-created the upcoming animated series Erik The Pillager (BiteTV). If you follow him on Twitter (@NedPetrie), he’ll give you $1 Million.