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Off Main Street (Oct. 1): From Canada, with love

From Canada, with love

Britons, perhaps, can be forgiven for not knowing who Tim Horton was, why there is restaurant franchise named after him or what a Timbit is.

Tim Hortons is a Canadian export well known to those of us just south of the international border. It was, of course, founded in 1964 by Horton, the late Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres defenseman, in Hamilton, Ont., but it has basically been a nonentity across the Atlantic. That is until now. According to the British Broadcasting Corp., the chain is expanding to the United Kingdom.

To get a sense of how well this might go over, the BBC – with camera in hand – took to the streets of London to test befuddled Britons’ knowledge of the Tim Hortons menu. It should surprise no one that the base of knowledge was deeply lacking. The BBC found a few Canadians to help get the Brits up to speed so they could enjoy their iced Capp, doughnuts and double-doubles when the chain finally makes its debut amidst the Marmite, fish-and-chips and other better known food fare across the pond.

Cleaning house

Dissatisfaction with the Buffalo Bills continues to spread.

At a recent meeting of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, the IDA board approved a $25,000 loan to AMA Enterprises, a commercial cleaning business in Pendleton.

IDA Chairman Stephen F. Brady said the business needed to hire more employees to carry out a cleaning contract at New Era Field.

“If ever there was a stadium that needed cleaning,” Brady said. “Starting with the coaching staff.”

Let the record show Brady made this comment the day before the Bills’ loss to the New York Jets and two days before the firing of offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Maybe Steve Brady is as sharp at seeing the football future as is Tom (no relation) Brady.

Big job, small compensation

When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sept. 23 tapped Empire State Development President Howard Zemsky to succeed Alain E. Kaloyeros as overseer of the Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan, it put Zemsky on track to become the state’s most influential economic development official in decades.

With all the extra responsibility his new post will entail, the busy developer couldn’t resist joking about his compensation during a news conference at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery to announce that the gallery had raised more than $100 million for its expansion project. Zemsky will be paid $1 a year, 7 cents of which, he noted, will be deducted from his nominal salary for Social Security.

“For this extra work, I want the extra 7 cents,” he quipped to reporters.

Not to be outdone, the governor offered to double Zemsky’s salary to a whopping $2 a year.

Following a speech about the Albright-Knox’s renowned art collection, Zemsky sought to regale those assembled with his own knowledge on the subject. After having the floor ceded to him, Zemsky indulged in a pause before saying, “That’s about it.”

Jive turkey

Erie County Legislator Ed Rath issued a warning to ornithopobic motorists via Twitter this week about a territorial turkey lurking during Rath’s drive home.

“East Amherst & Wmsvl drivers beware there is another Tom Brady (the turkey) sighting @ Paradise & Klein. He’s known to jump offside. #caution,” Rath tweeted.

Off Main does not presume that Rath meant the turkey was likely to commit some fowl play with the rest of his feathered teammates on the line of scrimmage. Though, judging by the name given the turkey, it’s possible the bird could have been spotted in the act of deflating car tires.

Asked how this wild turkey got its name, Rath said his three daughters, who are all avid Bills fans, came up with the moniker.

Clever, but this close to Thanksgiving, Tom the turkey might want to consider becoming less conspicuous.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with a contribution by Thomas J. Prohaska. email:

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