Canadian Identity Essay

2775 Words12 Pages
“I’LL HAVE A DOUBLE-DOUBLE, PLEASE” THE ROLE OF TIM HORTON’S IN THE MAKING OF THE CANADIAN IDENTITY Jessica Barry and Yasmin Manji The seemingly simple question “What is a Canadian?” is often answered by blank expressions. The varied geography, regions and ethnicity of Canada, the second largest country in the world, leave its citizens searching for a unifying identity, grasping to things that could potentially help define them as “Canadian.” Canada prides itself on its multicultural society, which, however, raises a question: If what we have in common is diversity, do we really have anything in common? There are popular notions about Canadian characteristics, things recognised internally and externally as uniquely Canadian. The two traditionally considered the root of Canadian identity are the nation‟s love for hockey and its need to be distinct from America. The fast food restaurant Tim Hortons has adopted these identity markers and itself become part of the answer of what it means to be Canadian. This paper intends to explore how Tim Hortons incorporated the few accepted aspects of the Canadian identity in order to establish itself in the Canadian market. This business strategy was successful because, lacking a national identity, Canadians adopted Tim Hortons as an icon that all Canadians could relate to: rich, poor, educated, blue collar, spanning all regions, ethnicities and even political party lines. The Canadian embrace of Tim Hortons has led to the formation of new “Canadianisms” that Canadians are proud to use and be associated with. Language reflects identity and Canadians‟ embrace of Tim Hortons as part of their identity is reflected in their vocabulary. From its inception, Tim Hortons made a connection with Canadians. Founded in 1964, Tim Hortons was named after its co-founder, the Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Tim Horton. For the millions of Leafs‟
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