Friday, June 19, 2009

The holiest of holies coming to town?

I can already tell you what everyone is going to be talking about this weekend in Iqaluit. And it's not going to be any of the usual foolishness in Ottawa over near elections and EI reform. It won't be any of the debates that happened in Nunavut's Legislative Assembly. And even while a lot of the chatting might be happening at this weekend's Alianait festival, I imagine they'll be talking about something else. It's not even the exhibition of Kenojuak Ashevak artwork taking place at the museum, even though I'm personally pretty excited about that. I'm hoping she's going to be there so I might get the chance to meet her.

No, no. The big story? Tim Hortons might be coming to town. I rarely drink coffee, so I don't care, although I know some will be dancing in the streets.

For years the lack of Tim's has been one of the great shocks for newcomers when they come to town. It's to the point that when I put together my list of things you're simply going to have to learn to deal with if you want to live in Iqaluit, the lack of Tim Hortons was pretty high up there.

But now, it might be coming here. No longer will people have to line up at the Tim's in Ottawa airport and get a large plastic bag and fill it with boxes of timbits and donuts. No longer will an extra large coffee to sip on the plane flight up be their last taste of Tim's for weeks or months.

If they come here, of course. And if they last. Franchise fast food places have had a shaky history in Iqaluit. There's a KFC/Pizza Hut here and it does all right business, but not over the moon. And frankly, unless they've changed, the actual chicken used by KFC isn't what you would get down south. It's a substitute and not a great one.

Then there was the great Subway fiasco of a couple years ago. The franchise went bankrupt, but not before charging up to $25 for a foot long sub and a complete inability to keep anybody working there for more than 15 minutes.

So we'll see. Tim's sounds like a great idea for here. But Iqaluit isn't exactly lacking in coffee shops. And I suspect staffing will be a challenge. Plus, there will be the issue of how much they're going to charge.

One more thing....Jim (Ooops, John. Sorry) Bird's story, well, it amused me. I'm not ragging on Jim, far from it. He heard the rumour, knew it was a story that would be of deep interest to people in town. And hell, Nunatsiaq News ran in front page. It's just such a, I don't know, cute, odd, adorable, appropriately, weirdly northern story. And a nice touch with the anonymous sources at the end.

Anyway, we shall see. If it happens, I predict Dairy Queen next. You think I joke, but once you see kids drinking slushies outside in -30C weather, you realize I'm serious. They'll line up to get a blizzard here, trust me.

Last Five
1. Radio, radio - Elvis Costello
2. Like lovers do - Lloyd Cole
3. Creepin' in - Norah Jones
4. Breaking us in two - Joe Jackson
5. It's my fault for being famous - The White Stripes*


KOTN said...

First, it is John Bird, not Jim.

Second, they better put in a drive-thru.

Third, couldn't some private entrepeuner get this franchise, instead of the Northern Store in Winnieg getting fatter?

Adam Snider said...

The slushy/DQ thing actually doesn't surprise me at all. I remember hearing somewhere that Alaskans buy more ice cream than any other state in the US. And that's not per capita. That's straight volume.

Given that, it doesn't surprise me that kids in Canada's north love their frozen drinks.

towniebastard said...

I was going to say that I had drive-ins because they're a tremendous waste of gas and people ought to get out of their damn cars. Then I remembered where I lived and that I routinely let our truck warming up for 10 minutes during the winter. So much for that rant.

As for the Northern, I agree. But I suspect it's Tim's preference to deal with a known entity on a venture into the great unknown, rather than deal with one of the many, I'm sure, people who called them up and said "I want to open a Tim's in Iqaluit!"

Anonymous said...

Anywhere BUT Northmart, please! It'll be dirty and disgusting in no time at all. It'll be good for the first weeks but it'll be ruined so fast.