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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