Is Vancouver Starbucks or Tim Hortons Country? You make the call!

Photo credit: Jeff Kubina | Flickr

Photo credit: Jeff Kubina | Flickr

A fascinating study was published in the Vancouver Sun last week, comparing the popularity of Starbucks vs. Tim Hortons all across Canada.

The study, which breaks down how many Tim Hortons and Starbucks locations there are by neighbourhood, shows that Tim Hortons is king nearly everywhere – except, that is, Vancouver.

All told, there are almost 3,500 Timmy’s locations across the country, compared to just 1,200 Starbucks.  Throughout Metro Vancouver, however, Starbucks is clearly winning the coffee race.  Here’s where it’s most popular.

Starbucks has a huge edge Downtown, as well as in Yaletown, Kitsilano and the Main Street Corridor.  Most neighbourhoods throughout Richmond, on the North Shore and even into Delta and Port Moody also fly the green and white Starbucks flag.

Burnaby shows an even split between Starbucks and Timmy’s neighbourhoods.  It’s only once you get deeper into the Fraser Valley – in Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford – that Tim Hortons asserts its dominance.

Across the rest of Canada, it’s pretty much all Tim Hortons territory, with the exception of the downtown cores of Toronto and Montreal.

So why does Vancouver prefer Grande Lattes and organic blueberry bars while the rest of the country enjoys Large Coffees and Timbits?  Proximity to Seattle, birthplace of Starbucks, might offer some explanation.  Or it could be the sophisticated coffee culture in Vancouver, where fair-trade beans and micro-roasted batches have long reigned supreme and even Starbucks is almost a dirty word.  Price might have something to do with it, as well, with Tim Hortons offering a much more economical fix for caffeine fiends.

What do you think?  Is Starbucks overrated? Should Timmy’s get more respect in Vancouver? When it comes to coffee and a quick bite, which do you prefer?  Weigh in below on the great coffee debate.  

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11 Responses to Is Vancouver Starbucks or Tim Hortons Country? You make the call!

  1. Starbucks coffee is way better than Tim Hortons. I seriously can’t understand the hype about Tim Hortons…

    • LG

      Timmy’s coffee tastes horrid, it’s vapid and flavourless. Certainly they have a good donut – but donuts are not healthy food.
      And frankly, for the product, Starbucks is overpriced. Folks are starting to look for organic beans brewed well in their neighbourhoods sold from folks that are local, so as to support the local economy.

  2. TN

    Agreeing with LG on this one. Tim’s coffee is dreadful and Starbucks is definitely overpriced. We definitely have better coffee shops in Vancouver that are underappreciated.

  3. Isabella

    I really don’t get Tim Hortons… Tastes like drop coffee to me… I drink my coffee black so I can really taste the difference between bad and good

  4. Jaime

    In all fairness, comparing Tim’s and McDonald’s would have been better a better survey than using Starbucks- their coffee quality, selection and price structure is closer aligned.

  5. Uli

    Neither serve good coffee for my liking. We have so many micro roasters and local coffee companies who do a much better job in offering not only great coffee and treats, locally made, organic and fair trade or even farmer direct, but most offer a great atmosphere which the TH and SB cookie cutter versions can’t bring to the table. It is like deciding which is better McDonalds or Burger king. They are not good but serve a purpose and of cours shave their following. With size you lose charm and atmosphere, sad but true.

  6. Peter

    Not a fan of either.

    Starbucks coffee tastes like someone burned the beans and Tim’s is on the weak side.

    There are plenty LOCAL coffee roasters and coffee shops that serve a better product, like Laughing Bean and Bean Around The World.

  7. vancouver_guy

    this point is really moot, Vancouver is all about StarBucks because we are so close to Seattle… there is a SB every other busy street corner or mall.

    If we were not so close to Seattle… this will be more interesting dicsussion.

    I guess it’s a slow news / story week?

    And Tim Horton is based in Oakville Ontario. Of course they will have more of a presence in Ontario.

  8. Kenny

    Seriously, anyone that thinks Starbucks has good really hasn’t had good coffee. Try some proper cafes like JJ Bean, Revolver, Wicked, Elysian, Coffeebar, Rocannini, Matchstick, 49th Parallel Roasters or even Artigiano if you want some good coffee.

  9. Alan Bishop

    We stay in Vancouver every year and I would prefer going to Timmys any day. I never have trouble finding one and have never had bad service. I am surprised at these results as there are always lots of people in Timmys

    • Einsoy

      IS VANCOUVER STARBUCKS OR TIM HORTONS COUNTRY? Yes, starbucks country, no only vancouver; US,Australia,India,Europa,Arabic,etc…