It’s a bit of a northern Canadian tradition to bring a treat from Tim Hortons after a visit to the south. This, I experienced for the first time during my days as a waitress in Dawson City Yukon Territory.
Situated at the confluence of the Yukon and the Klondike Rivers, Dawson City lies 525 kilometres north of the territory’s capital (and just as far away from the nearest Tim Hortons). Those traveling between Whitehorse and Dawson City by car had no choice but to bounce along the winding, gravelly Klondike Highway at a pace safe enough to reach their desired destination with windshield and tires intact – a trip that I can’t imagine taking any less than 7 hours to complete, even if you omit stops (whether or not driving conditions have improved since then though, I’m not sure).
On occasion, someone (a co-worker or a friend) would make the long, gruelling trip down to Whitehorse for one reason or another, and return with a box of goodies from Canada’s most popular coffee establishment. Despite half-melted, grit encrusted icing or glaze after a long and jarring trip back, a box of donuts or Timbits was always greatly appreciated by all who got to enjoy them back in Tim Horton-less Dawson City.
A little over 2 years ago, as I was preparing for my own move to the north and was picking the brains of all my friends who’d spent time in various places across Canada’s arctic, I was told, time and time again, about this tradition. So, whenever possible (depending on their stock or the carry-on baggage that I happen to be juggling), I try to bring a little something back with me from the Tim Hortons at Montréal’s Trudeau airport when I return to Tasiujaq.
This morning, as I waited for my First Air flight to Kuujjuaq (where I’d catch my Air Inuit flight to Tasiujaq in the afternoon) after my 4 days in Québec City for the SPEAQ convention, I caught the staff of the Trudeau airport Tim Hortons off-guard when I ordered, with nonchalance, 250 Timbits to go. In response to my request, the cashier stood a moment, mouth agape, and then actually asked me if I was serious. Then, as I waited for one of the other employees to count out my load of donut holes, not one, but three people, just had to inquire about where, exactly, I was flying to. Their reactions, like the cashier’s, were hilarious, and thus is why catching people off-guard can be awesome. This was an entertainingly awesome case of catching people off-guard.