Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Tim Horton-Memories

Tim Horton-Memories


Last week I posted a note on Facebook regarding the Fiftieth Anniversary of Tim Hortons. The restaurant people celebrated by giving customers a piece of cake and a coffee. There are several thousand Tim Hortons shops in Canada, and a few in the northern states. I discovered one in Florida! It is in Sunrise, in the arena where the Panthers play. A little bit of home for Canadian visitors. When the Canadian troops were in Afghanistan, there was also a restaurant in Kandahar. Nice touch.


As often happens in the Facebook world, I heard from a friend who remembered visiting the Tim Hortons restaurant on North Front Street in Belleville. He happened to be walking down the street when he heard a bit of a commotion, on the very first day of business at the shop. Tim Horton had stopped by to greet the patrons, and he signed an autograph for my friend Kam Tom.


Kam and I spoke about that encounter, and reminisced about other early Belleville experiences. Kam arrived in the city as a six-year old from Hong Kong. He had been whisked out of China, and was sent to live with his grandfather. They lived above the Paragon Café, which his grandfather owned, on Front Street in Belleville.


Kam attended Queen Mary School, switched over to Prince Charles School, then returned to Queen Mary to complete his primary school education. He attended B. C. I., and began his post secondary education at the University of Toronto. He later received his degree from Carleton. For many years he has worked in the field of photography, and motion pictures.


Kam also joined the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, only a short stone’s throw from his residence. The Memorial Arena was also closely located to his place on Front Street. He loved the arena, and became a very proficient skater. One of his buddies at that time, Doug Dickie, suggested that Kam should sign up to play hockey as well. Much to his dismay, his grandfather refused to allow him to play. The reason he gave was that he could not afford the cost. Kam also figures he did not want his young grandson to get hurt.


He spent hours with the rest of us at the Quinte Tennis Club. He recalls at least three marathon matches that he and I had at the Club. In one instance, we began in the morning, with little settled. The rest of the crew headed home for lunch, returned, and found us still sweating it out on the court. We both chuckled when I remarked that neither of us had a power game. The main focus was to get the ball over the net, and allow the opponent to make the mistake. That makes for very long matches.


 Tim Horton certainly had a legendary career in the NHL. He was recruited by the Leafs in 1949, and left Cochrane, Ontario, to play for St. Mike’s. He and Allan Stanley were defensive partners for Stanley Cup wins in 1962, ’63, ’64, and ’67. He also played for the Rangers, for the Penguins, and for the Sabres. He travelled the Queen Elizabeth Way from Toronto to Buffalo when he played for the Sabres. Tragically, he was killed on one of those trips.


He partnered with Ron Joyce in 1964 to open the first donut franchise. One of his teammates, Bob Baun, successfully managed two donut shops in the Toronto area.


Horton was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977. Kam Tom still has his autograph.


You will find me working at that same Tim Hortons on June 5th, Camp Day. Make that a double-double!


James Hurst


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