An Ottawa Tim Hortons restaurant is back-pedalling after it posted a sign that warned customers they would be trespassing if they stayed longer than 30 minutes.
CTV reports that the sign, which was posted at the franchise's Queen Street location in downtown Ottawa, informed patrons that police would step in if they did not leave within half an hour.
“This is to inform you that under the Trespass to Property Act, that you are not under any circumstances, permitted access to, or be on the premises of, Tim Horton’s 330 Queen St Ottawa,” it read. “This notification is to clear the place within 30 minutes after purchase (sic) Tim Horton’s product, failure to do so will consider (sic) as a trespassing, the Ottawa Police Service will be contacted, who will be instructed to charge you under the Trespass to Property Act.
The notice added that a copy of the letter had been sent to the Ottawa Carleton Police.
The incident left many online wondering if Tim Hortons was targeting those who are most vulnerable, while others believed the restaurant had the right to post the sign.
Tim Hortons in Ottawa posted a sign saying anyone who stayed longer than 30 minutes after purchase would be charged with trespassing. What a warm fuzzy feeling you get after a double double whe they slap the handcuffs on you if you linger over your cup of luke warm coffee— Jim Goddard (@jimgoddard3) December 15, 2019
Taking down the sign is like shutting the gate after the horses are out ... @TimHortons #Ottawa #330QueenSt has shown how they discriminate & marginalize ... #TooLittleTooLate #Boycott #TakeAwayTheirFranchise #BuyLocal https://t.co/7mUNR9dmtY— Meli Grant (@416meli) December 15, 2019
Oh my! The issue in Ottawa is recent, yes. It reminded me of a similar sign that used to be posted at one in Kingston, 15 years ago. In other words, not a new issue for Tim Hortons. They want our money, they want our patriotic loyalty, they don’t want us to linger in the store.— Krista 🎄 (@kristatee) December 15, 2019
In Ottawa, Lots of people hang out, loitering at Tim Hortons. The loitering people aren’t buying items. They’re using washrooms, keeping warm and taking up space. Make coffee at home and invite your friends. pic.twitter.com/ACOcQF6ZVN— David Haney (@flyingyankee) December 15, 2019
Should it really fall on Tim Horton's to provide shelter?— Matthew Marchand (@MattMarchand) December 15, 2019
The sign has since been taken down.
A spokesperson for Tim Hortons told CTVNews.ca that the Queen Street location was “attempting to deal with a few isolated issues of extreme loitering, but the sign doesn’t reflect our values of creating a welcoming environment.”
Good to hear that the sign was taken down, but— OldOttawaGuy (@oldfart123) December 14, 2019
I’ve seen students park themselves at places that offer free WiFi for hours without buying anything. Same type of issue...how does the owner enforce limits.....it’s a real Catch 22.
Too bad. Sometimes hard to find a seat with our tray full of food because of those with an empty cup and a computer on wifi.— Arlene Deslauriers (@arlenejd45) December 15, 2019