History was certainly made in 1976 for Canadians. From Sylvia Ostry being appointed Canada’s first female Deputy Minister, to the CN tower opening in Toronto, to the Montreal Summer Olympic games. Undoubtedly, 1976 will be remembered for centuries. But one event stands out above all else: the introduction of the Timbit.
Yes, in April of 1976, Tim Hortons introduced the Timbit, earning it a spot not only on the menu but also in our hearts.
With various flavours that differ from location to location, Timbits can come (but are not limited to!) chocolate glazed, jelly filled, dutchie, honey dip, sour cream glazed, old-fashioned plain, old fashion glazed, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, lemon, apple cider, orange-tangerine, creamy caramel, cherry cake, birthday cake, honey cruller, pumpkin spice, toasted coconut, and apple fritter.
And although a lot has changed for Canada in the 41 years since the introduction of this bite-sized treat, the Timbit has stayed a reassuring constant through turmoil, and crisis, an unrelenting beacon of honey glazed hope. The Timbit has always been there for us, and Canadians, in turn, have loved it well. In fact, if laid end to end, the number of Timbits that Canadians have consumed since 1976 would reach the moon, and back almost five times. Within the span of five years, Timmies sells enough Timbits that if stacked on top of each other, they would be 80,000 times taller than the CN Tower.
But the timbit is so much more than an impressive statistic, or an unconventional unit of measurement.
From the Timbits Minor Soccer we played when we were young, (or if you’re like me, sat on the field and picked at the grass while the other four-year-olds stumbled around the soccer ball), to the whole enterprise of Timbits sports, currently supporting around 200 000 young athletes in hockey, soccer, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, football, curling and more, Canadian kids have grown up with Timbits; they are not so much a snack as they are a part of special memories. From little league game wins, to end of year classroom parties, Timbits are there for all the big moments.
Timbits and Tim Hortons by extension are absolutely an integral part of our culture; they are quintessentially Canadian. Even as Canadian troops prepared to go to war in Afghanistan, former Canadian Chief of Defence Staff General Rick Hillier was adamant that our troops have access to a Tim Hortons at Kandahar Airfield. Despite it costing at least $4 million, it was seen as a “boost to morale.” As Gen. Hillier said in a 2006 speech: “There’s nothing more Canadian than sipping a double-double in Kandahar airfield while you’re watching a hockey game.” (source)
Timbits are still a Canadian favourite, 41 years later, even spurring Buzzfeed quizzes (obviously the epitome of cultural impact) like What Flavour Of Timbit Are You, and Can You Identify These Timbit Flavours Just By Looking At Them? Timbits will always be a part of who Canada is (with even a Windsor woman nicknaming her newborn Timbit!) and it is immensely important to remember this as we wrap up celebrations of our sesquicentennial year.
Just goes to show that Canadian history can be as small as… a donut hole.