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Thursday August 13, 2009

The 'idea guy' behind Tim Hortons saw others get rich while he went bankrupt

Entrepreneur was the ill-fated hockey player's first partner in the little doughnut chain that grew

Special to The Globe and Mail

Continued from Page 2

Coincidentally, 1993 was the year Mrs. Horton's $10-million lawsuit against Mr. Joyce was being heard and Mr. Joyce had asked Mr. Charade to offer evidence on his behalf. Mrs. Horton was seeking to overturn the 1975 agreement with Mr. Joyce, claiming that $1-million wasn't enough for her share in the company.

With great reluctance, Mr. Charade gave evidence at the trial and it was deemed important to the outcome. Mrs. Horton lost the case and was declined on appeal in 1995.

"That was difficult for my father to do, to testify. He didn't want to do it but he did," André said. "He didn't want to be in that kind of position.''

In 1996, when Mr. Joyce sold out to the Wendy's hamburger chain, Mr. Charade was fired by Wendy's head honcho Dave Thomas, who wanted his own people to take over the real-estate end of the business. It was a move that devastated Mr. Charade, and shortly thereafter he suffered a heart attack.

What helped was a severance cheque for $75,000, which he used in part to start a tanning-salon business - against his son's wishes. He lost a lot of the money over the course of a year. Around that time, the idea man behind Tim Hortons had to declare bankruptcy when Revenue Canada told him he owed the government about $60,000.

According to André, his father lamented what had happened back in the 1960s and how Mr. Joyce had gotten rich while he did not.

"I think Ron has always wanted to be noted as the co-founder of Tim Hortons and that frustrated my father a bit," his son said. "I told him, 'Ron was a vital piece and so were you.' My dad wanted to be known as the key person at the start and it was very difficult for my father to accept that he left the company before it became successful. He was like the fifth Beatle, not getting enough credit. He's the forgotten one in the founding of the chain."


Jim Charade was born in Montreal Sept. 2, 1934. He died July 23, 2009, in Jonquière, Que., after suffering from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. He was 74. He was predeceased by his wife Claudette. He leaves son André, two grandchildren and brothers Paul, Eddy and Pierre and sisters Margerie, Hazel and Lillian.

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