A sip of cultural anthropology for any of Torontoist’s American cousins who might be venturing this side of the border for March Break. Today’s lesson: Tim Horton’s, known variously by locals as Timmy’s, Uncle Tim’s or Hortie’s, depending on the region in which you find yourself. Our caffeine nation’s signature coffee joint opened its first shop in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964, and is eponymously named for its late founder, NHL hockey star Tim Horton. At 5am most winter weekends, you’ll find bleary-eyed soccer moms and hockey dads in line, fuelling up for a cold day at the rink watching Pee Wee practice (and ordering up an assortment of Timbits, those delectable bite-sized donut holes). Beyond the typical orders for a double-double (double cream, double sugar), close observers will notice another, more peculiar ritual exclusive to this time of year, wherein before discarding their waxed cardboard take-out cups, customers suck or gnaw at the lip of the cup. This is not some bizarre Northern mating ritual (or a prelude to throat-singing); it is the annual instalment of the chain’s Rrroll Up the Rim To Win promotion, a craze which débuted in 1986 (chances of winning a prize under the rim, from free java to SUV, are 1 in 9). One caution: in Torontoist’s experience, it is best to drink all the contents first.
Image: “National Caffeine,” by artist John Huggins.