Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited is a Canadian retail company which sells a wide range of automotive, hardware, sports and leisure, and home products. Some stores also sell toys and food products. Retail operations include: Canadian Tire, the core retail and automotive service operation, which operates a large car repair garage in each store; Canadian Tire Petroleum; Mark's, a men's, women's, footwear, and work apparel retailer; sporting goods and sportswear retail conglomerate FGL Sports; and PartSource, which retails auto parts and accessories. The company's head office is in Toronto, Ontario. The retailer is known for its Canadian Tire money, a loyalty program first introduced in 1958. The company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited
Canadian tire
Public company
Traded asTSX: CTC (voting)
TSX: CTC.A (non-voting)
Founded1922 (1922)
FounderAlfred J. Billes
J. William Billes
HeadquartersToronto, Ontario, Canada
Number of locations
1,686 locations: 503 Canadian Tire stores, 91 PartSource stores, 409 FGL Sports stores (various banners), 386 Mark's stores, and 297 gas stations.[1]:26[2]
Key people
Stephen Wetmore (President and CEO)[3]
ProductsAutomotive, sports and leisure, and home products
Revenue $12.681 billion (2016)[1]
$747.5 million (2016)[1]:12
Total assets $15.303 billion (2016)[1]
Number of employees
FGL Sports
Canadian Tire Bank
Canadian Tire Petroleum
Helly Hansen
Party City


On September 15, 1922, John William Billes and Alfred Jackson Billes invested their combined savings of $1,800 in the Hamilton Tire and Garage Ltd. (established in 1909 as the Hamilton Garage and Rubber Company) in Toronto.[4] Hamilton Tire and Garage specialized in buying tires at a discount from manufacturers in the winter then reselling the tires during the busy summer season. Construction work on the Gerrard Street bridge over the Don River during 1923 severely curtailed business leading the brothers to close the garage and open a retail store at Yonge and Gould streets in Toronto, ON.[5] Tires formed the bulk of the sales, due to the high rate of tire failure during this era.

The Billes brothers moved the store again to 629-637 Yonge Street (at the Isabella street corner), Toronto, ON by 1925.

A price list in the format of a 24" × 10" folder with road maps for Ontario and the Maritimes on the reverse was distributed in 1926. This initial price sheet folder heralded the beginning of the Mail Order Department at Canadian Tire.

A product focus on tires was emphasized in 1927 with incorporation of the name Canadian Tire Corporation Limited because, as A.J. Billes said, " sounded big".[6] The new corporation had J.W Billes as President and A.J. Billes as Vice-president.

During 1928 the first Canadian Tire catalogue consisting of price lists along with road maps.

In 1934, the first official Associate Store was opened in Hamilton, Ontario by Walker Anderson on King Street.[7] The arrangement between the Billes brothers and Anderson was done with a handshake and no contract. This led to many additional Associate Stores starting after this though most had square footage (i.e. 30 feet by 25 feet) and many changed tires at the curb.

In 1936 Canadian Tire moved into the new Main store at 837 Yonge Street, after completing extensive alterations to what once was the Grand Central Market. This location served as both a store and as Corporate Headquarters. This location still is an Associate Store in the chain today.

In 1944 to help facilitate increasing the number of stores Canadian Tire Corporation became a public company with sale of 100,000 shares. By 1945 there were 110 Canadian Tire stores. In 1946 an employee stock purchasing plan was implemented to encourage employee loyalty while discouraging unionization.[6]

J. William Billes died unexpectedly in November 1956 as a result of complications from pernicious anemia (a vitamin B12 deficiency). He bequeathed his shares in Canadian Tire to twenty-three different charitable organizations. At the time of his death there were 150 stores in Ontario and the Maritimes. A.J. Billes became President.

The first gas bar opened in 1958 at the corner of Yonge and Church streets in East York, ON (now part of Toronto, ON). Canadian Tire money that gave gas bar customers an in-store discount began in 1958. The number of locations expanded resulting in price wars with the large oil companies in 1960. In June 1960 the large oil companies stopped all supplies to the gas bars. Canadian Tire circumvented this by buying in bulk from the Soviet Union. By June 1961 there were 31 locations (today there are 297 locations).

Doctors in 1965 advised A.J Billes that he should retire due to job stress. In 1966 he retired from the position of President but remained on the board of directors. Joseph Dean Muncaster, an Associate Store owner in Sudbury, ON was appointed President.

The small financial services company Midland Shoppers Credit Limited was purchased in 1968 and renamed Canadian Tire Acceptance, Limited.

Limited space at 837 Yonge Street for Corporate Home Office resulted in a move in 1978 to an office tower at 2180 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON where it is still located today.

By 1980 there were 327 store locations. In 1984 Muncaster was replaced as President by Dean Groussman as a result of in-fighting amongst Billes family members and institutional stockholders.

Canadian Tire entered the clothing market by acquiring Mark's Work Warehouse in 2001.[8]

In 2003 CTC established the Canadian Tire Bank, under Canada's Bank Act, from its then-named Canadian Tire Financial Services, Limited, subsidiary along with its MasterCard portfolio,[9] which was later renamed as Canadian Tire Services, Limited, effective January 1, 2015.[10][11]

In May 2011, Canadian Tire announced the purchase of Forzani Group, a sporting goods retailer. In August 2013, the Company acquired Pro Hockey Life Sporting Goods Incorporated.

In 2014 CTC sold 20% of its Canadian Tire Bank to Scotiabank.[12]

In May 2018 extended further into the clothing market by acquiring Helly Hansen.[13]

Currently the company has 503 stores.[14] The current President and CEO is Stephen Wetmore.[15]


At the end of 2018 Canadian Tire employed 12,735 full-time and 17,951 part-time employee in the corporate structure.[16] These figures do not include temporary employees or employees working for Associate Stores, petroleum stores or franchise stores. There is an in-house Triangle Learning Academy, a pun on the CTC logo, for employee and Associate Store management training.


Canadian Tire is an industry partner of the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus.[17]

US expansion attempts

Canadian Tire tried twice to expand south of the border to enter the lucrative tires and automotive parts business in the United States.

The first attempt occurred during the early 1980s when Canadian Tire attempted to replicate its successful Canadian Tire sales strategy in the United States by purchasing in 1982 the Wichita Falls, Texas-based White Stores, Inc. automotive retail chain with 81 stores in Texas from its then owner Household Merchandising Inc., a subsidiary of Household Finance, for US$40.2 million.[18][19][20] After losing nearly US$100 million during four years of operation, Canadian Tire closed some stores and sold the remaining 40 stores, three warehouses and other White assets to Kansas City, Missouri-based Western Auto Supply for US$24.5 million in 1986.[21]

The second attempt occurred during the early 1990s when Canadian Tire decided to try to open a specialized auto parts chain called Auto Source that tried to have more than 25,000 different parts on the shelf in each store, more than its competitors. The first Auto Source was opened in Indianapolis in 1991.[22] Unlike the previous attempt, the Auto Source concept was built from scratch.[23] During the next three years, Canadian Tire had opened two Auto Source stores each in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Louisville for a total of ten stores before abruptly closing the money losing chain in 1995.[24][25][26] Some of the stores were sold to Pep Boys.[27]

Although the Auto Source lost nearly CA$60 million during its four years of existence, a scaled down version was used in Canada under the PartSource brand.


Certain merchandise items are branded specifically for Canadian Tire. The most recognized of these are Mastercraft, which offers a wide range of tools, SuperCycle (bicycles), BluePlanet (eco-friendly household cleaners, CFL bulbs and other green items), Likewise (general household items such as lighting/electrical products and hardware) and Motomaster (tires, batteries and other automotive goods). NOMA, a company that exists in Canada as a trademark only, offering a wide range of items from Christmas lights to air purifiers. During the 1980s, Canadian Tire sold electronic items under the name Pulser (with Canadian Tire logo), such as radios, stereos, televisions, walkmans, cassette tapes, etc. It is unknown when the company began or went defunct.


On May 10, 2017 Canadian Tire announced it would be buying Padinox, the manufacturer of the Paderno brand of kitchen equipment.[28]



Moody's observed the chain's unique position in Canadian retail as being "often both misunderstood and underestimated" and "completely foreign" in comparison to U.S. retail, citing its variety of products (ranging from auto parts, to sporting goods, to outdoors products, and grocery at some locations), and that "its proprietary 'currency,' Canadian Tire money, which is a by-product of its loyalty program, has been accepted across Canada by multiple retailers and could almost be described as a 'sub-fiat' currency."[29]

In 2009, the chain introduced a new store concept it dubbed the "Smart store"; they feature "boutiques" that prominently showcase products within the chain's core product categories. Popular product categories such as auto parts and home goods were moved towards the front of the store to improve their prominence, and some locations began to sell common groceries as a pilot project.[30] In June 2015, the chain opened its largest location to-date at South Edmonton Common, which features two floors, widened and expanded departments, various interactive experiences (including a driving simulator and virtual reality), as well as a rotating exhibit of Hockey Canada memorabilia.[31]

With the demise of Target's businesses in Canada in 2015, Canadian Tire took over the lease of 12 of the former Target store locations.[32]

Online store

In November 2000, Canadian Tire introduced an online retail operation. On January 1, 2009, citing consumer disinterest in online shopping in comparison to its physical stores, the Company discontinued online sales .[33]
On November 1, 2013, Canadian Tire returned to online shopping with delivery to stores.[34]

Automotive parts

In addition to the Canadian Tire stores' Parts department CTC owns PartSource, an automotive parts and accessories specialty chain with has 91 stores across Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. It serves commercial automotive installers and do-it-yourself mechanics. Before November 2013, some stores were owned and operated by franchisees; all currently belong to Canadian Tire.[35]

Financial services

Canadian Tire Bank (CTB) is the retail deposit-taking and credit card issuing arm of the company. Held indirectly under the Canadian Tire Services, Limited, holding company, Canadian Tire Bank (CTB), a bank under Canada's Bank Act since 2003. Prior to 2003, all financing occurred under the Canadian Tire Financial Services. In 2014, The Bank of Nova Scotia acquired a 20% economic and voting interest in Canadian Tire Bank, with an option to acquire up to an additional 30% of the company within 10 years (or require Canadian Tire buy back its existing 20% interest) at the then fair market value of business for $500 million CAD in cash.[36]

Ostensibly in tandem with Scotiabank's acquisition of a minority position in Canadian Tire Bank, Canadian Tire renamed its intermediary holding company Canadian Tire Financial Services Limited as Canadian Tire Services, Limited, effective January 1, 2015, dropping the moniker Canadian Tire Financial Services from use.[10][11] Additionally, in approximately 2018, Canadian Tire rebranded its credit card-issuing online banking website as Canadian Tire Bank, removing the last vestage of Canadian Tire Financial Services from active use.


Canadian Tire Petroleum (CTP), operating as Canadian Tire Gas+, has 297 locations with many having car washes.[37] With the 1958 founding of CTP,[38] Canadian Tire begin selling gasoline at their stores as a means of increasing customer traffic. CTP also holds the concession to operate the 24-hour gas stations at ONroute service centre with convenience stores along Ontario Highway 400 and Ontario Highway 401.[39]

In Ontario, CTP also operates Pit Stop, which provides services like oil changes and rust checks. The Canadian Tire money loyalty program was originally launched through the gas bars as "Gas Bonus Coupons". CTP has opened 3 'Q' stop stores featuring a mini-grocery store as well as other items.

Sporting goods

In May 2011, Canadian Tire announced the purchase of Forzani Group, a Canadian sporting goods retailer that operates various brands, including SportChek, Atmosphere, Intersport, Hockey Experts, National Sports, Nevada Bob's Golf, S3, Sport Mart, Sports Experts, Tech Shop, Pro Hockey Life, and The Fitness Source.[40]


In 2001, Canadian Tire acquired Mark's Work Warehouse (now branded as Mark's), a retailer of business casual and work wear, for $116 million.[8] Along with standalone stores, some Canadian Tire locations feature integrated Mark's locations. However, some smaller Canadian Tire locations removed their Mark's department when remodelled into the "Smart store" format due to space constraints.[30]

In May 2018, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan sold the Norwegian sportswear retailer Helly Hansen to Canadian Tire for $985 million CAD.[13]



Historically, Canadian Tire's Christmas ads featured Santa Claus and Ebenezer Scrooge arguing about whether Canadian Tire's selection or their sales prices are the reason to do Christmas shopping there involving the marketing slogan "Give like Santa, save like Scrooge". A stamp was issued by Canada Post commemorating Canadian Tire's 75th anniversary based on the Canadian Tire advertisement of a boy (Bike Story) receiving his first bicycle which was purchased by his father at a Canadian Tire retail store.

Starting in 2007, the company ran month-long advent calendar promotions which provided free CDs and discounts throughout the holiday season.

From 1997 to 2005, the company's ads featured the "Canadian Tire couple". The male role also known as the Canadian Tire guy was played by Canadian actor Ted Simonett, and Gloria Slade played the female role. They are usually showcasing a new product to one of their neighbours, who are in need of a certain tool. The 'Canadian Tire Couple' were featured on Royal Canadian Air Farce as one of their targets of the year, as "Canada's most annoying couple". They also made a feature guest appearance on Royal Canadian Air Farce as actors in a skit.

In early 2006, ads featuring the couple were phased out and replaced by a new campaign featuring overhead signs found in Canadian Tire's store aisles.

In 2013, Canadian Tire produced a commercial promoting its MasterCraft Eliminator Ultra car battery and its ability to function in extreme cold, which featured a stripped GMC Sierra pickup truck with its body re-created as an ice sculpture. The ad premiered during the 2014 NHL Winter Classic.[41][42]

In March 2015, Canadian Tire launched a new ongoing marketing campaign, "Tested for Life in Canada". The campaign, which includes television advertising and in-store labels, showcases products that have been vetted based on input by a consumer focus group recruited by the chain, as well as their reviews of the products. The program also collects feedback that is used to help improve products marketed by Canadian Tire.[43][44]


  • 1970s: "It's for people like you"
  • 1980s: "There is a lot more to Canadian Tire than tires"
  • 1985: "The right choice has never been so clear."
  • 1992: "There is a lot more for a lot less"
  • 1996: "Everyday low prices made better"
  • 1997: "Canadian Tire, still the right place"
  • Various Christmas seasons: "Give like Santa, Save like Scrooge" and "Scrooge-Approved Prices"
  • 2001: "Let's Get Started", which used the song "I'll Start With You" (released in 1992 by former Highway 101 lead singer Paulette Carlson)
  • 2006: "_____ Starts at Canadian Tire", with the blank filled with various seasons (such as "Summer" or "The Holidays") or situations ("Home Improvement", "Spring Cleaning", "Car Care").
  • 2008: "For Days Like Today"
  • 2011: "Bring it On"
  • 2012 & 2013: "Canada's Store". In some ads, the type of 'store' is included when appropriate to the advertising creative, ie... "Canada's Automotive Store" or "Canada's Kitchen Store".
  • 2014 & 2015: "Tested for life in Canada".
  • 2016: "You got this."

Canadian Tire Racing IndyCar win

Alfred J. Billes's son David Billes is a Canadian former Corvette racer before opening Performance Engineering Ltd. He was later Jacques Villeneuve (elder)'s car owner in CART IndyCar competition in the early 1980s, and entered two cars in the 1985 Indianapolis 500.[45] In 1985 Jacques Villeneuve Sr. won the race at Road America.

David Billes was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1994.[46]

#SeasonDateSanctionTrack / RaceNo.Winning DriverChassisEngineTireGridLaps Led
1 1985 August 4 CART Road America (R) 76 Jacques Villeneuve (Sr.) March 85C Cosworth DFX V8 t Goodyear 4 14

See also


  1. "Management's Discussion and Analysis" (PDF). Canadian Tire. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  2. "Number of stores operated by Canadian Tire Corporation in Canada in 2018, by brand". Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  3. Shaw, Hollie (July 13, 2016). "Canadian Tire brings Stephen Wetmore back to the helm in surprise shakeup to tackle new world of retail". Financial Post. prince George. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  4. "History". Canadian Tire. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  5. McBride, Hugh (1997). Our Store 75 Years of Canadians and Canadian Tire. Toronto: Madison Press Books. p. 19. ISBN 1-895892-10-4.
  6. "Canadian Tire". Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  7. "The Hamilton Memory Project" (Press release). The Hamilton Spectator- Souvenir Edition. June 10, 2006. p. MP38.
  8. "Canadian Tire buys Mark's Work Wearhouse for $116 million". CBC News. December 19, 2001. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  9. "About Us". Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  10. "2015 Annual Information Form from Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited" (PDF). Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited. Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited. February 17, 2016. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  11. "2014 Annual Information Form from Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited" (PDF). Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited. Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited. February 26, 2015. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  12. "Scotiabank, Canadian Tire strike $500M financial services deal". CBC News. The Canadian Press. May 8, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  13. "Canadian Tire to buy sportswear brand Helly Hansen in $985-million deal". The Globe and Mail. The Canadian Press. May 10, 2018. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  14. "Number of stores operated by Canadian Tire Corporation in Canada in 2018, by brand". Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  15. Our Leadership Team, retrieved August 18, 2019
  16. "Canadian Tire Corporation 2018 Annual Information" (PDF). p. 19. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  17. "Industry Partnerships". University of Waterloo. Archived from the original on April 16, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  18. "Household Finance To Sell Store Assets To Canadian Tire Unit". The Wall Street Journal. November 18, 1981. p. 40. Canadian Tire Corp. said it agreed to acquire most merchandising assets of White Stores Inc., a Texas-based home and auto supplies concern.
  19. "Canadian Tire Completes Purchase of Some Assets". The Wall Street Journal. February 25, 1982. p. 3. Canadian Tire Corp. said it completed the previously announced purchase of most merchandising assets of White Stores Inc. of Wichita Falls, Texas, from Household Merchandising Inc. for $40.2 million (U.S.)
  20. "Canadian Tire's mistaken leap into the U.S.". Venture. December 8, 1985. CBC.
  21. "Canadian Tire sells U.S. subsidiary". United Press International. February 28, 1986.
  22. "A new kind of auto store: Canadian retailer to open first U.S. locations here this summer. (Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd.'s US Division, Car Car USA Inc.)". Indianapolis Business Journal. April 15, 1991. Archived from the original on August 5, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2017 via HighBeam Research.
  23. Bohman, Jim (January 12, 1992). "Customers Park in Or Out – Parts, Service in Supermart". Dayton Daily News. p. 1F.
  24. McCarron, Kathy (January 9, 1995). "Canadian Tire Closes Auto Source". Tire Business.
  25. Peale, Cliff (December 7, 1994). "Auto Source chain shuts down – 91 jobs are lost here at 2 stores". Cincinnati Post. p. 6D.
  26. Gebolys, Debbie (December 3, 1994). "Auto Source Stores Crash in Columbus, Other Cities". Columbus Dispatch. p. 01F.
  27. "Pep Boys To Acquire Three Auto Source Stores" (Press release). PR Newswire. March 5, 1995. Archived from the original on February 24, 2014 via The Free Library.
  29. Babad, Michael (May 12, 2014). "Triple-eh: Moody's lauds Canadian Tire money as almost 'sub-fiat'". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  30. "Its superstores stalling, Canadian Tire gets 'smart'". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  31. "Country's largest Canadian Tire opens in South Edmonton Common". Edmonton Journal. June 4, 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  32. "Canadian Tire to acquire 12 former Target locations". CBC News. May 6, 2015.
  33. "Canadian Tire to cease online sales". United Press International. January 20, 2009. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
  34. Nguyen, Linda (November 7, 2013). "Canadian Tire makes move into e-commerce". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  35. "Canadian Tire Corporation Annual Report 2013" (PDF). p. 25. Retrieved August 18, 2019. In addition, during 2013, Management converted all of its Partsource franchise locations to corporately operated stores.
  36. "Canadian Tire Corporation and Scotiabank enter strategic business partnership that includes Scotiabank acquiring 20% of Canadian Tire's Financial Services Business". Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  37. "Number of stores operated by Canadian Tire Corporation in Canada in 2018, by brand". Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  38. "Canadian Tire Petroleum Celebrates 45 Years". Convenience Store News. October 5, 2003.
  39. "Fuel". ONroute. August 18, 2019.
  40. "Canadian Tire to buy Forzani Group". CBC News. May 9, 2011.
  41. "Iceculture builds ice truck for Canadian Tire commercial". December 27, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  42. "Ice truck attempts Guinness record on highway 84". Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance. December 30, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  43. "'Tested for life': Canadian Tire Corp taps customer testers for a hands-on marketing tool". Financial Post. March 10, 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  44. "Canadian Tire program lets consumers do the talking". Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  45. "Two Indy entries a first for Canada". The Gazette. Montreal, PQ. May 21, 1985. p. D6. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  46. BILLES, DAVE. "Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame".
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