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Ottawa queers react to Tim Hortons ban

One customer suggests boycotting Canada's largest fast food chain

Darko Trifunovic, seen near the Cooper Street Tim Hortons, says the chain is infringing on freedom. Credit: Bradley Turcotte

Ottawa queers reacted negatively July 19 to news that Tim Hortons had blocked access to Dailyxtra.com on its store WiFi network.

A July 16 email from the third party that administers the coffee chain’s WiFi network told Daily Xtra it blocked the website because it “was not appropriate for all ages viewing in a public environment.”

“We try to ensure that all of our guests can enjoy a safe and pleasant experience when visiting us,” the email stated. “While there is no way to change this decision, we can assure you that it was not an easy decision to make,” it added.

“They can shove it up their ass,” says Eric Baldwin as he exits the Tim Hortons at the intersection of Cooper and Bank streets, in Ottawa’s gay village.

“That’s ridiculous. I’m offended,” says James Carrington as he sips on an Iced Cappuccino from the Tim Hortons a block past the Village, at Gloucester and Bank streets.

Jim Miller says he, too, is offended and suggests Ottawa’s gay community boycott Tim Hortons.

Tom Ramsey, owner of Bank Street adult shop 1 in 10, says Tim’s decision to block Daily Xtra reminds him of the time Hartman’s grocery store removed Xtra Ottawa, then known as Capital Xtra, from the racks of publications at its front door.

“Go ask Hartman’s what happened to their business after they pulled Capital Xtra out,” Ramsey says. “They lost 60 to 70 percent of their business that week. They brought it back right away.”

A Hartman’s manager on duty today says she does not know of the incident.

“If word gets out among the community, especially being at this corner, they are going to lose business because of it,” Ramsey continues. “Something’s wrong. Not in the gay village in Ottawa. They can’t do that. This is almost like our little gay Tim Hortons here.”

Darko Trifunovic says he thinks the WiFi ban is wrong, as he exits the Cooper Street store.

“Freedom, right? Why would that be a problem? I really don’t know why they would do that,” he says.

After a public outcry on Twitter, a spokesperson for Tim Hortons apologized on July 19 and promised Daily Xtra would be unblocked.