FACE TO FACE: Canada vs. America, blue collar vs. white collar, Tim's vs. Starbucks?
If you like to drink coffee as much as I do, you have likely enjoyed a good a cup of java at many of the local coffee joints in the Tri-Cities.
My colleague opposite prefers Starbucks but, for me, there's no better place for a cup a coffee than Tim Hortons.
I would argue that Timmy Ho's is cheaper, has a wider selection of food and snacks, is generally open longer hours (some even 24 hours) and, most importantly, has great-tasting coffee.
I don't need to tout too loudly, however, because the statistics back me up: Eight out of every 10 cups of coffee sold in Canada are poured at Tim Hortons locations.
All that aside, I feel more patriotic when I go to a Tim Hortons versus a Starbucks.
While it's true they merged with U.S.-based Wendy's International in 1995, Tim Hortons completed an initial public offering in March 2006 and was fully spun off as a separate company.
Nevertheless, Tim Hortons is an iconic brand in this country.
The coffee chain/restaurant, named after a legendary Maple Leaf defenceman, began operation in Hamilton, Ont. in 1964 and has since grown into the largest quick-service-restaurant in Canada with 3,148 stores. By comparison, Starbucks only has 1,095 stores in Canada.
Moreover, my colleague would be hard-pressed to find any company in Canada that does more in the community than Tim Hortons. For over four decades the company has been a great corporate citizen.
Annually, the company donates more than $15 million through community initiatives such as the smile cookie campaign, the earn-a-bike program, summer swimming events and food drives.
Tim Hortons also sponsors more than 200,000 children who play on hockey, soccer, lacrosse, t-ball, baseball and ringette teams across Canada. Each sponsored team is supplied with Timbits jerseys or t-shirts, and are often given the opportunity to play on-ice scrimmages during intermissions at junior, American Hockey League and National Hockey League games.
They also sponsor curling's Brier Cup, as well as teams in the Canadian Football League and National Hockey League.
How much more Canadian can you get, eh?
I'm not saying Starbucks is all bad but I always have time for Tim Hortons.
Andy Radia is a Coquitlam resident and political columnist who writes for Yahoo! Canada News and Vancouver View Magazine. He has been politically active in the Tri-Cities, having been involved with election campaigns at all three levels of government, including running for Coquitlam city council in 2005.