How Tim Horton’s Became Tim Hortons

This article was written by Phin Upham

Tim Horton was a Canadian hockey player who played 18 seasons for the Toronto Maple Leafs. During that time, he helped bring the team to four Stanley Cup victories, and became endeared for his amazing shows of strength on the ice.

Horton played a position in hockey commonly known as “The Enforcer,” but he wasn’t a man to be feared. Simply put, he outplayed you. Perhaps that is what helped to lift his status as a personality and as a player.

When he opened Tim Horton’s in 1964, note the apostrophe, people in Canada were already familiar with his name. Tim Horton partnered with a former police officer named Ron Joyce, and the two tried their hand at managing a restaurant on the side. Tim Horton’s began as a coffee shop on Ottawa Street. After Horton died in a car accident in 1974, his business partner began an aggressive expansion with the aim of growing a chain of stores.

It grew in popularity thanks to great coffee and sweet donuts, but consumer tastes began to diversify by the 90s. The company put greater emphasis on different kinds of breakfast options. It was a move signified by a company name change from Tim Donut Limited to TDL Group Ltd.

Tim Horton’s became Tim Hortons in 1993 thanks to a law in the Quebec Province that limits the usage of apostrophes on signs. The main argument being that the possessive apostrophe is not actually a part of French language.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website