Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: Tim Horton’s

Happy Canada Day!

Today, July canadian-flag-1174657_12801, 2016, is the 149th anniversary of Confederation, the union of Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to form the nation of Canada. It soon expanded to the west – Manitoba was added in 1870, British Columbia in 1871, Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905. In 1949 Newfoundland became the 10th province. There are also three territories – Yukon, Northwest Territory and Nunavut.

Iconic Symbols of Canada










The Hudson’s Bay Company is Canada’s oldest business, founded as a fur trading company in 1670. Nowadays, it is Canada’s largest department store chain. The Hudson Bay point blanket, pictured above left, is an all wool blanket that has been manufactured in England for the company almost from the beginning and is an icon both of the company and of Canada.

Tim Horton’s is not nearly as old, only dating to 1964, but it is far and away the favourite coffee shop and fast food eatery of Canadians. There is a Tim Horton’s restaurant for every 10, 000 Canadians, they have over 20% of the fast food market and 75% of restaurant baked goods sales and coffee sales. Most of us frequently hold in our hands a cup like the one pictured above to drink a Tim Horton’s “Always Fresh” coffee.

How to tell if someone is Canadian

  • Ask her what comes after kindergarten. If she says Grade One, she is Canadian, if she says First Grade, she is American.
  • Ask her what is the last letter of the alphabet. A Canadian will say zed, an American zee.
  • Ask her what to call a multi level parking facility. A Canadian will call it a parkade. I’m not sure if Americans have a specific word for it.

Is it really that bad?

This world is a horrible place. There are environmental catastrophes, threats of international terrorism, dangers in the streets. The danger of religious persecution threatens us even here in North America. There is sexual exploitation of women and children. There is abuse of power by those in positions of trust: police officers, preachers, teachers and parents. There are dangers on the internet. It seems that you can’t trust anyone anymore.

Um . . . let’s back up a little bit here and see if we’re getting the whole picture. Yes, all these things are going on; and yes, these are the things the media wants to tell us about. But is that really what most of us are experiencing in our daily life?

My grandchildren are blissfully unaware of any threats to their well-being. I am not experiencing any harassment because of my religious beliefs. I encounter friendly and helpful people wherever I go.

I started using a cane about six weeks ago and I am amazed how that triggers acts of kindness from others. I have even had young ladies hold a door open for me. A few days ago I bought my fast food lunch at Tim Horton’s and the lady behind the counter offered to carry my tray to a table. I declined, but not without a hearty thank  you. Someday I may need her assistance.

Today I was in my favourite coffee shop – the one where the young ladies behind the counter don’t need to be told that I want a cappuccino with amaretto syrup. This time I asked the young lady who served me if she  had ever heard an old, old song that has her name in the title. Her response floored me: “You remembered my name!” I have known her name for a long time, she has served my coffee countless times, we have talked about other things than coffee, but I had never called her by name. This is something I have encouraged others to do, and here I wasn’t even doing it myself.

That seems such a small thing, but it was a reality check. When I begin thinking that the world is such a cold heartless place, perhaps the first question I need to ask is “Am I the problem?”

By the way, she was all too familiar with the song. Her music teacher used to sing it every time she went for a lesson.

Mr. Average Canadian

In 1926 Stephen Leacock tried to describe the average Canadian man of his day. Eighty-nine years have passed and Mister Average Canadian of that day is long dead and buried. Therefore, I will take it upon myself to describe his modern counterpart, according to census statistics.

In 2015 Mr. Average Canadian is 42 years old and lives in Sudbury, Ontario, but was not born there. His mother tongue is English, but one of his grandparents was French and he speaks 1,000 words of that language. He also speaks 100 words of Mandarin and 100 words of Hindi, Urdu or Arabic, and probably knows a few words of Cree or Ojibwe.

He has lived with three women, is halfway divorced from one and halfway married to another. Two children live with him and his halfway wife, they each have one other child who lives with the partner from whom they are halfway divorced. Mr. Average Canadian and his halfway wife each have one half of a university degree, but this does not add up to one full degree between them.

Mr. Average Canadian drives a Ford pickup and his halfway wife drives a Toyota Corolla. They also own a riding lawnmower and either a Skidoo or a Kawasaki ATV. Mr. Average Canadian shops once a week at Canadian Tire for parts for their vehicles and equipment, parts to fix the leaky tap in the bathroom, new tools with which to do the repairs, or clothes to wear on his upcoming hunting trip. He also meets with friends for coffee at Tim Horton’s two times in the week. He has an Android phone which he uses to keep up with family and friends, the weather, sports, news and various other things.

Mr. Average Canadian and his halfway wife attend a church five times a year. At times they may also go to a synagogue or a mosque. They have one quarter of a Bible in their home and each will pick it up about three times a year and try to read something in it, but they still don’t have a clue what it’s all about.

This I believe is a reasonably accurate portrait of Mr. Average Canadian. Here is the big question: where does one begin when he wishes to try and share the gospel with such a person?

The answer should be obvious — you need to be one of those friends he meets with at Tim Horton’s, show him the nifty Bible app on your Android and encourage him to download it too. That is the beginning.

Today’s weirdest news story


This morning, two young men walked into a Tim Horton’s in Saskatoon and ordered breakfast sandwiches. They insisted that the onions had to be diced, not just sliced. The counter person explained that they could not do it. This led to an argument and finally one of the young men reached into the other’s pocket, pulled out a garter snake and threw it behind the counter. Everyone scattered.

The police came, picked up the snake (garter snakes are harmless) and found a temporary home for it. It will be released into the wild in spring. The police also found the two culprits and they probably won’t get off so easily.

Now, people do not ordinarily go around with a snake in their pocket – not even in Saskatchewan – unless they are planning some outlandish stunt. Asking for diced onions on a breakfast sandwich was just a way to start an argument.

It was probably about a year ago that someone went into a Tim Horton’s, in Edmonton I think, bought a coffee and then left money to buy coffee for the next 100 customers. That soon spread across Canada, with unknown benefactors paying for coffee for large numbers of Tim Horton’s patrons that were unknown to them. That was a copycat streak that created a string of good news stories for about a week.

Times being what they are . . .  Well, I just hope that all the garter snakes in Canada have gone into hiding for the winter.

Here and there

Tomorrow is our  anniversary and I am taking my wife out to dinner in a restaurant that opened just one week ago.  The restaurant is in Moose Jaw, the city where our married life began 43 years ago.  One of my cousins and his wife will meet us for dinner, we plan to visit two other elderly cousins after dinner, then meet my wife’s sister at 5 o’clock at Tim Horton’s. That means a 2½ hour drive each way, but it will be a pleasant break from our normal routine.

Tim Horton’s is a Canadian institution, far and away the biggest fast food chain in the country.  There are no burgers on their menu, just paninis, wraps, bagels, muffins doughnuts, soup, and coffee of all kinds  I have a special fondness for their mocha latte.  Apparently 80% of the coffee served in Canada is served by Tim Horton’s.

I don’t make a practice of commenting on the news, but two incidents in the last couple of days have got me wondering.

In Toronto, a young man, 18 years old, got on a street car behaving bizarrely, pulled a knife and ordered everybody else off.  The police came, 20 of them, and one of them went on the streetcar and ordered the young man to surrender.  Apparently the police officer felt threatened, even though the young man was not near enough to harm him.   He shot the young man nine times and ordered another officer to tazer him.

In Montréal, a seventy-two year old man threatened meter readers with a gun, then locked himself in the house, leaving his wife locked outside.  The police came, as many as in Toronto, and the man fired one shot at them.   The police were aware there were other guns in the home.  They tried various means to communicate with the man and finally after 20 hours one policeman entered the house and fired one bullet.

The results: in Toronto a young man is dead, the family is hurt and angry, a police officer is suspended, an investigation will be held.  In Montréal an elderly man with dementia is safe and sound, the family is relieved and happy, the police are heroes.

The bullet fired in Montréal was a rubber bullet.  Hasn’t Toronto ever heard of rubber bullets?

%d bloggers like this: