The Truth About Tim Horton

Hello and welcome back to another week of reliably unreliable information at Factually Deficient! You’ll note that today’s post is somewhat later than usual; I have been all day at a history conference, which makes it particularly fitting that this week’s (late) post deals with history.

Mr. Jack Alsworth asked me:

Who was Tim Horton?

I notice, Mr. Alsworth, that this is not the first question you have asked regarding Canadian history; and while it is commendable indeed that you are interesting yourself in the history of that noble land, I must warn you: it is not always a pretty sight.

The first thing that must be said of Sir Tim Horton is that he was persistent. He convinced John A. Macdonald to award him the contract for building the Canadian-Pacific Railway by dint of bringing coffee to the office of the Father of Canada every morning for more than ten years, without missing a single day.

And when Horton began the process of actually building the railroad, his extraordinary perseverance and determination showed through once again: eschewing all offers of help or suggestions that he hire workers, Sir Tim Horton built the entire railroad single-handedly (literally, as one hand was occupied with holding a coffee cup at the ready in case the Prime Minister should happen to pass by), laying down tracks from one end of the country to the other, from sea to sea.

I say “from sea to sea,” for that was Macdonald’s vision, but in fact, Horton did not stop at the sea; rather, when he reached the Pacific Ocean, he kept right on laying down those tracks, sinking struts deep into the bed of the ocean and fully intending to continue until his railroad had come full circle and straddled the entire world. But John A. Macdonald would not stand for this. In what became known as the Pacific Scandal, due to its being set against the backdrop of the ocean by the same name, Macdonald insisted that Horton be stopped; and, when that did not transpire, he demanded Horton’s head.

This was a daring and highly controversial move on Macdonald’s part; Horton had been popular, despite his fanaticism about the railroad, and there was an outcry following his execution. In the aftermath of this, John A. Macdonald felt compelled to resign from his position as Canada’s supreme leader, and appointed as his successor the immortal Queen of Canada now known as Elizabeth.

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Disclaimer: Many of the assertions in this blog post are absurdly false. The Pacific Scandal may not have involved a Sir Tim Horton.

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