A Tim Hortons franchise owner in Calgary received significant public backlash after releasing poppy donuts ahead of Remembrance Day, of which proceeds would not be donated to veteran’s causes.
The donuts, which were not authorized by Tim Hortons head office, were designed by manager Reynan Amon, according to Metro News. Amon said an employee had come up with the idea in honor of Remembrance Day on Nov. 11, which honors Canadian Forces members who lost their lives serving and marks the anniversary of the end of World War I.
The poppy donuts hit the shelves Nov. 4. Criticism for the donuts exploded after the Twitter account @Crackmacs posted a photo of the poppy donuts with a tweet reading “‘poppy’ themed donuts a local Tim Hortons is selling. No profits going to any kind of charity. Thoughts?”
Amon said customers who visited the store did not appear to have a problem with it, but soon after he released the donuts, an anonymous complainant brought them to the attention of local media, claiming it appeared to be disrespectful.
Tim Hortons confirmed Wednesday that the proceeds earned from the donuts would not be kept, and instead would be donated to the Royal Canadian Legion, according to CTV News.
In addition, Tim Hortons said that Amos would match the donation out-of-pocket. The company has not released details about how much money was raised from the donuts.
“We didn’t do it with the intention of making a profit on it,” Amos said to Metro News. In addition, he said, there was a prominently-located box where guests could donate money to veterans.
However, an anonymous store employee reportedly found the donuts disrespectful, and reported the confectionery decision to the head office.
John Rathwell, who provides escape rooms in Calgary and serves as general manager of the Calgary Poppy Fund and Veterans Food Bank, said he appreciated Amon’s desire to think about veterans, according to Metro News. “At the same time,” he said, “it’s a sacred symbol.”
The history of using poppies to symbolize lost soldiers began in 1921. The flowers famously grew at the site of multiple battles, according to the BBC. The poem In Flanders Fields, written by Canadian poet John McCrae, describes the poppies growing in between the final resting places of soldiers in Flanders fields in Belgium.