The first “Tim Horton” opened in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario. The business was founded by Tim Horton, who played in the National Hockey League from 1949 until his death in a car accident in 1974. He met Ron Joyce soon after he opened the store. In 1965, Joyce’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion had come to the fore and he took over the fledgling Tim Horton Donut Shop on Ottawa Street North in Hamilton. By 1967, he had opened up two more stores, he and Tim Horton became full partners in the business. Upon Horton’s death, Joyce bought out the Horton family and took over as sole owner of the existing chain of forty stores. Joyce expanded the chain quickly and aggressively in geography and in product selection, opening the 500th store in Aylmer, Quebec, in 1991.
Ron Joyce’s aggressive expansion of the Tim Horton’s business resulted in two major changes in the coffee and doughnut restaurant market: independent doughnut shops in Canada were virtually eliminated, and Canada’s per-capita ratio of doughnut shops surpassed those of all other countries.
The chain later went public under the corporate name “Tim Donut Limited”. By the 1990s, the company name had changed to The TDL Group Ltd.