The Surprisingly Compelling History of the Timbit

Tim Hortons

When you think of iconic Canadian staples what comes to mind? Poutine? Hockey? Beavers? We bet that Tim Hortons and their iconic Timbit ranks pretty high on that list. 2024 marks 60 years of Tim Hortons, so we knew we had to take a look down memory lane. And we are not the only ones celebrating! In addition to bringing back their old-school retro donuts, Tim Hortons is also putting on a musical titled The Last Timbit to celebrate. Read on for the history of the Timbit plus everything you need to know about The Last Timbit. 


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Tim Hortons

1964: Tim Hortons opens its first restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario

Tim Hortons opened the doors to its first restaurant in May 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario. Founded by Canadian hockey player Tim Horton, this was not the first restaurant venture that Tim Horton gave his name to.  According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, in 1963, Tim partnered with businessman Jim Charade to open two drive-in burger and chicken spots in Toronto and Port Credit called Tim Horton Drive-In. The two also worked with Tim’s brother to create another burger place in North Bay, Ontario called Tim Horton Charcoal Broiled Hamburgers. Although these restaurants did not have much success, that did not deter Tim and Jim who went on to open Tim Hortons in Hamilton, serving donuts and coffee.

Today the original Tim Hortons is still open and operating in Hamilton. A statue of Tim Horton stands outside the location and for the 50th anniversary, a mini-museum was created on the second floor. Visitors can see replicas of old donuts, retro cups and take a trip down Tim Hortons memory lane. And of course, they can pick up their favourite Tim Hortons drinks and food!

Related: Our Favourite Hamilton, Ontario Restaurants

Tim Hortons

1976: Timbits are released

Timbits are classified as donut holes. According to Reader’s Digest, the donut hole is said to be invented by the son of Elizabeth Gregory in the early 1900’s. Elizabeth is credited as the woman who invented the modern day donut we all know and love. However, it is also worth mentioning that Indigenous cultures adopted some form of quick bread in the fur trade era. This includes Inuvialuit-Style Donuts which can be compared to beaver tails.

Allegedly, Elizabeth’s son Hanson used the cover of a tin pepper box to cut out the centre of the donut and the donut hole was born. He was inspired to do so because it used to be hard to get a donut perfectly fried all the way through. You were often left with a raw or soggy middle of the donut. The donut hole offered a solution to get the perfectly fried donut while also getting a bite-sized treat. Nowadays donut holes are created separately and are no longer the scraps from the centre of the donut.

The Timbit was added to the Tim Hortons menu in 1976. This is three years after the American equivalent, the Munchkins was introduced at Dunkin’ Donuts. The bite-sized treat was an instant sensation due to the size and of course the flavours. In the 70s and 80s there was even a Timbit mascot who was a Timbit with eyes! Since its launch, it is reported that Canadians have eaten enough Timbits to reach to the moon and back almost five times. That is a lot of Timbits!

Tim Hortons

Timbit flavours through the years

There have been dozens of different Timbit flavours through the years. From discontinued flavours like cinnamon french toast, cherry cake and chocolate peanut crunch. And current flavours like honey dip, sour cream glazed and old fashion plain. Every Canadian has a favourite Timbit. But statistically which Timbit is Canadians’ favourite? That would have to be the Chocolate Glazed (it happens to be our favourite as well).  To celebrate their 50th anniversary, Tim Hortons launched a birthday cake Timbit, which also proved to be a fan favourite, landing at number two on the list of Canadian’s favourite Timbits.

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2020: Timbits Cereal launches

In early 2020, Tim Hortons partnered up with cereal maker Post Foods to create two Timbit-inspired cereals. Available in birthday cake flavour and chocolate glazed, this sweet treat is still on shelves today.

Justin Bieber with Timbieb Timbits from Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons

2021: Justin Bieber teams up with Tim Hortons to launch Timbiebs

The 45th anniversary of the Timbit saw this Canadian icon paired up with another. Popstar Justin Bieber worked with the brand to create three unique Timbit flavours called Timbiebs plus exclusive merch. The Timbiebs flavours included chocolate white fudge, sour cream chocolate chip and birthday cake waffle. There were apparently over a hundred different flavour combinations in the mix before these three were settled upon. In a statement Justin expressed that collaborating with Tim Hortons has always been a dream for him. “I grew up on Tim Hortons and it’s always been something close to my heart,” Justin said.

Justin and Tims followed up on the collaboration in 2022 with the launch of the Biebs Brew. It was a cold brew coffee stirred with a creamy French Vanilla flavour. Coincidentally, a French Vanilla is what Justin’s wife Hailey Bieber orders whenever she’s at Tim Hortons.

Tim Hortons

2024: The Last Timbit

Between June 26 and June 30 at the Elgin Theatre, The Last Timbit will be performed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Tim Hortons. The show spotlights the special connections and stories made in and because of Tim Hortons over the years. And in order to do so, they are taking inspiration from another famous Canadian story.


The Last Timbit features the stories of a group of people stranded in a Tim Hortons in Sarnia, Ontario during a snowstorm. As another bonus, Michael Rubinoff who produced Come From Away is also producing The Last Timbit. It stars a multitude of Canadian talent including Jakle Epstein, Sara Farb and Kimberly-Ann Truong.

When asked what sparked this project, Michael Rubinoff stated that Tim Hortons was looking for a fun way to celebrate their anniversary. “It’s such a cause for celebration when we get to see new Canadian stories,” said Michael. “I think musical theatre is such a great and compelling way to share stories and I can’t think of a more Canadian place [than a Tim Hortons].”

The musical opens with the song “What Would You Do For A Timbit?” and features other songs with exciting choreography such as “Party Of The Year” and “Perfect”. Tickets are still available for this soon to be iconic musical and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Tim Horton’s and the legendary Timbit.

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