Rough weekend for Canadian culture

by DaniGirl on January 30, 2006 · 24 comments

in Uncategorized

It was a bad weekend for icons of Canadian culture.

First, on Friday it was announced that the Hudson’s Bay Company is being sold to an American businessman. The history of Canada and the Hudson’s Bay Company are irrevocably intertwined, and the idea of this titan of Canadian culture and history being owned by American interests is deeply disturbing (with apologies to my dear American friends.)

So why does it matter that HBC has fallen to foreign ownership? First, because one of the first things I remember learning about in elementary school was the role of HBC in the formation of Canada – the fur trade, Rupert’s Lands, coureurs du bois, Native people, British and French power struggles and remote northern outposts. It all became more tangible and comprehensible when I could tie it somehow to the big Bay department store downtown, back in the 1970s when department stores and downtown were both places of significance.

And more importantly, because given the choice between The Bay or Sears, or between WalMart and the HBC-owned Zellers, I always tried to support the Canadian company. If HBC ownership falls to American interests, there isn’t a Canadian equivalent left to choose.

Second, there were rumblings in the media this weekend about the possibility that Tim Hortons would be setting up its most distantly remote franchise ever – in Kandahar, Afghanistan. There are more than 2,000 Canadian peacekeeping troops stationed there, and while American soldiers can have their Pizza Hut, Burger King or Subway fix, Canada’s most popular coffee shop is reluctant to make the same move.

Timmy’s head office says that while it would be logistically feasible to set up a coffee and doughnut vending trailer on the base, they are reluctant to do so, citing concerns about quality control. While Timmy’s has a reputation for being generous to our overseas troops, ensuring each deployed soldier gets a gift package at Christmas, this seems like a great way for the company to show their support of the peacekeepers.

I don’t know how I’d get through a morning in my quiet little world with out a Timmy’s coffee (extra large, three milks) to start my day. For those who risk their lives in the name of a more peaceful world, a double-double and a chocolate dip doesn’t seem like too much to ask.


{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 christie January 30, 2006 at 2:51 pm

When I saw the article about Tim’s and Afghanistan- I fully expected them to be announcing that absoulutely they would open up there- to be surprised that they are having reservations about opening one up- now I don’t drink coffee but alot of my colleagues do and often they go out during our 12 hour shift to get one in order to survive the shift- I would think it would be just as important to the guys fighting for our country- they are making loads of money and hopefully it will only be a temporary store as we hopefully will bring our men home.
On the Bay thing- I totally agree with the supporting of Canadian industries- I live very close to the American border and never buy things over there. Occassionally we go there to play hockey but it’s straight back when we are done. I am married to a Farmer who fully believes in supporting ourselves first. Have only been to the Bay a couple of times and it is a great store with great quality stuff. I too associate the Bay as taught in school about the beginning of the fur trade and eventually a Canadian business.

2 christie January 30, 2006 at 2:51 pm

When I saw the article about Tim’s and Afghanistan- I fully expected them to be announcing that absoulutely they would open up there- to be surprised that they are having reservations about opening one up- now I don’t drink coffee but alot of my colleagues do and often they go out during our 12 hour shift to get one in order to survive the shift- I would think it would be just as important to the guys fighting for our country- they are making loads of money and hopefully it will only be a temporary store as we hopefully will bring our men home.
On the Bay thing- I totally agree with the supporting of Canadian industries- I live very close to the American border and never buy things over there. Occassionally we go there to play hockey but it’s straight back when we are done. I am married to a Farmer who fully believes in supporting ourselves first. Have only been to the Bay a couple of times and it is a great store with great quality stuff. I too associate the Bay as taught in school about the beginning of the fur trade and eventually a Canadian business.

3 Danigirl January 30, 2006 at 3:36 pm

Thanks, Christie! And don’t forget, “we hopefully will bring our men (and women!) home” soon.

4 Danigirl January 30, 2006 at 3:36 pm

Thanks, Christie! And don’t forget, “we hopefully will bring our men (and women!) home” soon.

5 BeachMama January 30, 2006 at 6:01 pm

Timmy’s should “Just Do It” (oops, that’s Nike slogan šŸ˜‰ ). I think the Troops would be happy with a trailer, considering that quality control shouldn’t be that big of an issue. They are in Afganistan for crying out loud, the quality would definatley be better than what they have right now.
As for HBC, thankfully, they will still continue to own a large portion of Canada, land wise. I have to be honest that since Eaton’s closed, I have been sadly missing a great Canadian department store. Les Ailes filled in for a while, but I alone couldn’t keep them open ;). Although I do frequent the Bay, I have been quite disappointed with it’s over crowded hallways and racks, there is so much stuff you get frustrated before you begin.
Maybe Roots will open a department store??
Anna

6 BeachMama January 30, 2006 at 6:01 pm

Timmy’s should “Just Do It” (oops, that’s Nike slogan šŸ˜‰ ). I think the Troops would be happy with a trailer, considering that quality control shouldn’t be that big of an issue. They are in Afganistan for crying out loud, the quality would definatley be better than what they have right now.
As for HBC, thankfully, they will still continue to own a large portion of Canada, land wise. I have to be honest that since Eaton’s closed, I have been sadly missing a great Canadian department store. Les Ailes filled in for a while, but I alone couldn’t keep them open ;). Although I do frequent the Bay, I have been quite disappointed with it’s over crowded hallways and racks, there is so much stuff you get frustrated before you begin.
Maybe Roots will open a department store??
Anna

7 Phantom Scribbler January 30, 2006 at 8:09 pm

I wish we could get Roots down here in the States. I have some stuff — hand-me-downs from some former neighbors who fled back to Canada, and gifts from a Canadian friend. LG looooooves his Roots hockey t-shirt.

8 Phantom Scribbler January 30, 2006 at 8:09 pm

I wish we could get Roots down here in the States. I have some stuff — hand-me-downs from some former neighbors who fled back to Canada, and gifts from a Canadian friend. LG looooooves his Roots hockey t-shirt.

9 yvonne January 30, 2006 at 8:37 pm

Couldn’t we sell Quebec instead?

10 yvonne January 30, 2006 at 8:37 pm

Couldn’t we sell Quebec instead?

11 SilverCreek Mom January 30, 2006 at 8:49 pm

NO>>>>I live in Quebec and I want to stay here Yvonne! Like thanks!
I AM A BIG fan of the BAY and Zellers. I boycott walmart ….I’ve always hated going in there there was never any room to move with a stroller and toddlers hid well in amongst all those racks. So the last 2 yrs I just don’t go I to to zellers!
I sure Timmy’s WILL DO the right thing. They don’t want me boycotting it…the one in my homw town would dry up without a Sharon drive through.
šŸ˜‰
KEEP QUEBEC!

12 SilverCreek Mom January 30, 2006 at 8:49 pm

NO>>>>I live in Quebec and I want to stay here Yvonne! Like thanks!
I AM A BIG fan of the BAY and Zellers. I boycott walmart ….I’ve always hated going in there there was never any room to move with a stroller and toddlers hid well in amongst all those racks. So the last 2 yrs I just don’t go I to to zellers!
I sure Timmy’s WILL DO the right thing. They don’t want me boycotting it…the one in my homw town would dry up without a Sharon drive through.
šŸ˜‰
KEEP QUEBEC!

13 Tanya January 30, 2006 at 9:40 pm

YES! please keep quebec!! šŸ˜‰
i’m a little disturbed by the HBC sale too. granted, i don’t often shop at the bay ‘cuz i found the rideau one (closest to work…) a bit annoying. but i did always try to find key items there b4 trying other stores. i just remembered i bought my wedding bra and thong there…lol! and zellers is all aylmer has within walking distance for me…so no probs there. i shop there a lot, but i have to say the stock at our zellers is TERRIBLE. they try to cram as much as they can into a small space, yet somehow they often don’t have what i’m looking for.
i wonder what the sale will mean in the long run? will stores close…anyone know?
now, what I can’t wait for is our giant tiger to re-open after they fix the fire damage. šŸ˜‰ as far as i know they’re all-canadian!

14 Tanya January 30, 2006 at 9:40 pm

YES! please keep quebec!! šŸ˜‰
i’m a little disturbed by the HBC sale too. granted, i don’t often shop at the bay ‘cuz i found the rideau one (closest to work…) a bit annoying. but i did always try to find key items there b4 trying other stores. i just remembered i bought my wedding bra and thong there…lol! and zellers is all aylmer has within walking distance for me…so no probs there. i shop there a lot, but i have to say the stock at our zellers is TERRIBLE. they try to cram as much as they can into a small space, yet somehow they often don’t have what i’m looking for.
i wonder what the sale will mean in the long run? will stores close…anyone know?
now, what I can’t wait for is our giant tiger to re-open after they fix the fire damage. šŸ˜‰ as far as i know they’re all-canadian!

15 twinmomplusone January 30, 2006 at 10:26 pm

I too dislike the thought of this slow American invasion over all our stores. How come we Canadians can’t keep a chain going? What do the Americans do that we don’t? First Eaton’s and now the Bay. We’re talking Hudson’s Bay, the first store of this country with the fur trading and all. It’s kind of sacriligeous
I despise Wal-Mart, junky overcrammed store. I always stuck to Zellers or the Bay and now the Canadian superstore. At least, we still have good old Canadian Tire šŸ™‚
What kind of complicated quality control do you need to make Timmy’s coffee in Afghanistan? Come on now, that’s a silly excuse.
This whole post is starting to make Canadians look wimpy.

16 twinmomplusone January 30, 2006 at 10:26 pm

I too dislike the thought of this slow American invasion over all our stores. How come we Canadians can’t keep a chain going? What do the Americans do that we don’t? First Eaton’s and now the Bay. We’re talking Hudson’s Bay, the first store of this country with the fur trading and all. It’s kind of sacriligeous
I despise Wal-Mart, junky overcrammed store. I always stuck to Zellers or the Bay and now the Canadian superstore. At least, we still have good old Canadian Tire šŸ™‚
What kind of complicated quality control do you need to make Timmy’s coffee in Afghanistan? Come on now, that’s a silly excuse.
This whole post is starting to make Canadians look wimpy.

17 Jen January 31, 2006 at 2:22 am

It will be interesting to see what the Yanks do with The Bay. I remember when they hired Bill Fields from Walmart and I sat through an analysts meeting where he said something to the effect that he really wanted to make the Bay really Canadian and mentioned having canoes and furs and things in the stores. He didn’t seem to get that our country had actually changed a little over the past 200 years. IN a similar vein, when we were holidaying, a woman from New Jersey was marvelling when I mentioned that Toronto’s weather was not inlike theirs. Her son, who was listening said “There’s no waaayyy that Canada has weather as nice as New Jersey!” (New Jersey of course being known as a tropical paradise).

18 Jen January 31, 2006 at 2:22 am

It will be interesting to see what the Yanks do with The Bay. I remember when they hired Bill Fields from Walmart and I sat through an analysts meeting where he said something to the effect that he really wanted to make the Bay really Canadian and mentioned having canoes and furs and things in the stores. He didn’t seem to get that our country had actually changed a little over the past 200 years. IN a similar vein, when we were holidaying, a woman from New Jersey was marvelling when I mentioned that Toronto’s weather was not inlike theirs. Her son, who was listening said “There’s no waaayyy that Canada has weather as nice as New Jersey!” (New Jersey of course being known as a tropical paradise).

19 Kristina January 31, 2006 at 2:48 am

Sadly, this is the current equivalent of taking over a country one piece at a time. In the “days of yore” aggressive measures were taken via military manoeuvres to overpower a desired territory. Fast forward to present day, and it’s not as obvious. It’s a slow, insidious process by way of corporate ownership: economic power, baby.
However, here’s the rest of the story: the guy who is buying HBC was already a major shareholder. He made a takeover bid, yes, but it’s not a lot different now from what it already was.
And I say Timmies should feed our troops.
Pip, pip and cheerio, kidlings!!

20 Kristina January 31, 2006 at 2:48 am

Sadly, this is the current equivalent of taking over a country one piece at a time. In the “days of yore” aggressive measures were taken via military manoeuvres to overpower a desired territory. Fast forward to present day, and it’s not as obvious. It’s a slow, insidious process by way of corporate ownership: economic power, baby.
However, here’s the rest of the story: the guy who is buying HBC was already a major shareholder. He made a takeover bid, yes, but it’s not a lot different now from what it already was.
And I say Timmies should feed our troops.
Pip, pip and cheerio, kidlings!!

21 nancy January 31, 2006 at 3:27 am

Agree. 110% Agree.

22 nancy January 31, 2006 at 3:27 am

Agree. 110% Agree.

23 Sue February 1, 2006 at 2:32 am

Amen. What’s a morning without a Timmy’s??? I take mine black, and only occasionally include the chocolate dip šŸ™‚
I heart HBC, but we’ve never had a Bay store here, so I’m a Zeller’s girl. Their Olympic gear isn’t bad — a little pricey, but nice, eh?

24 Sue February 1, 2006 at 2:32 am

Amen. What’s a morning without a Timmy’s??? I take mine black, and only occasionally include the chocolate dip šŸ™‚
I heart HBC, but we’ve never had a Bay store here, so I’m a Zeller’s girl. Their Olympic gear isn’t bad — a little pricey, but nice, eh?

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