The oldest Tim Hortons in Mississauga

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Published February 16, 2024 at 3:24 pm

first tim hortons mississauga
A Tim Hortons historic store display is seen in Hamilton, Ont. Photo: Designecologist

More than 45 years ago, a former police officer opened what would be the first Tim Hortons in Mississauga.

The restaurant still stands in its original building at 1375 Southdown Rd. A Tim Hortons spokesperson confirmed this is the first Tim Hortons in Mississauga.

Tim Hortons is now celebrating 60 years — founded in 1964 in Hamilton.

The owner of the first Mississauga Tim Hortons, J.J. Hoey, a former police detective, recalls the opening day of the Southdown Road location on March 3, 1978.

“We opened at 11 o’clock in the morning and we had a lineup,” Hoey told insauga.com. “They were lined up on the street, around the parking lot.”

The restaurant became so popular that people in the previously quiet neighbourhood started to complain.

Hoey recalls then-mayor, Hazel McCallion, organizing a public meeting to discuss the issue.

“So I said, ‘Well if we can’t control this noise and racket, I’ll close the store at night.’ It was a problem with the midnight shift,” Hoey said. “We brought in security and so on and cured the problem. Well, never really cured the problem because it was very popular.”

first tim hortons mississauga

The first Tim Hortons in Mississauga still stands, with some renovations, on Southdown Road. Photo: Google Maps

Hoey was new to the business at that time, having been a police officer for the previous 15 years. He joined the Oakville Police in 1963 and later became a detective. A few years after the amalgamation into the Halton Regional Police, Hoey decided it was time for a career change, he said.

In those days, Hoey explained, police officers didn’t make a lot of money. He recalled having two mortgages on his home and he told his training officer that he wasn’t making enough money to stay in the job for long.

“I said, ‘I’m going to quit when I’m 40.’ He said, ‘This your first day on the job.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I know. When I’m 40, I’m going to do something else with my life.’ So that’s a crazy story, but that’s the truth,” Hoey said.

True to his word, he quit on Sept. 15, 1977, and started his lifelong journey as a Tim Hortons franchise owner.

Before working as a police officer, he worked in construction. So when he learned Tim Hortons didn’t have a builder, as they were expanding quickly, he offered to build the store himself.

“I was in training for Tim Hortons, and that would be in late September, and they told me that they didn’t have a builder, so I said, ‘Well, I’ll build the store,'” he said.

He got tradespeople in to do electrical, plumbing and other specialized work.

Once the restaurant opened in 1974, he and his wife Karen never looked back.

“We’ve had a wonderful experience over the years,” Hoey said.

In those early days, he would often have to make the doughnuts himself.

“There’s nothing like a fresh doughnut.”

first tim hortons mississauga

J.J. Hoey stands in the first Tim Hortons in Mississauga in this undated family photo.

Hoey, now 86 years old, didn’t stop with one restaurant. He and Karen opened a second store in 1981 and then they kept going.

“At one time, we had 18 stores,” Hoey said.

Some of the stores were sold to hard-working staff members or family but the Hoeys still have four locations.

That first store on Southdown Road, however, was sold three years ago to Ibnu Ongko, who is the current owner of the restaurant.

One of the best things Hoey has loved about Tim Hortons is his work with summer camps.

“I was very involved in the Tim Hortons Foundation and I was on the board of directors, that was a big part of my life.”

Hoey travelled around North America to help build Tim’s camps for kids.

Overall, Hoey has no regrets about that career change he made so many years ago.

“It’s been good for our family.”

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