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Tim Horton

by Bruce Ricketts

If I told you I was going for a cup at Tim Hortons you would probable ask, "Which one?".  Tim Hortons are as common as weeds in an untended garden.

But do you know who Tim Horton was?

Miles Gilbert  Legen "Tim" Horton  born on January 12, 1930 in Cochrane, Ontario.

He began his hockey career at the age of 5 in Duparquet, Quebec, when his family briefly relocated there.  The  family returned to Cochrane in 1938 where he continued to play until he was about 15.  The family them moved to Sudbury where he played for the Copper Cliff Redmen of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association (1946-47).

In the 1947, he enrolled with the St. Michael's College Majors on a scholarship. St. Mikes was an integral part of the Toronto Maple Leaf farm system, and he was placed on the Leaf's reserve list in 1947.

In September 1949, he began to play hockey professionally when  Conn Smythe offered him a three year contract to play with the Pittsburgh Hornets, the Leaf's American League farm club.   It was in Pittsburgh that he met the future Mrs. Horton, Lori Michalek.  Tim and Lori had four daughters.

Tim began his rookie season with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1952 and continued to play for the Leafs until March 3, 1970, when he was traded to the New York Rangers.  A little more than a year later, during an intra-league draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins drafted him even though he had announced his retirement.  He eventually signed with Pittsburgh and played for them until he was again drafted in an intra-league draft in June 1972, this time for the Buffalo Sabres.

Tim Horton was a member of the Sabres organization until he died on February 21, 1974. He was driving home to Buffalo after a game in Toronto, when he was involved in a single car accident that proved to be fatal.

In 1996, Tim Horton was elected to the All-Time Greatest Maple Leaf Team.

The very first Tim Hortons store opened on Ottawa Street in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964. Ron Joyce was the store's first successful franchisee.

Few could have imagined that a 1,500 square foot coffee and donut shop opened in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964 would become the launching pad for a giant Canadian chain. Ron Joyce managed to get three successful stores running by 1967 and became a full partner with Tim Horton.

It wasn't until December, 1994 that a Tim Hortons franchise was opened in Horton's hometown of Cochrane, Ontario.


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