Canadian Tire: Canada's Freindly Retail Giant

The story of Canadian Tire, Canada's well known national chain is almost a legend in the retail industry, yet there's a lot about it that many people don't know ...

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By Karl Drew an Australian-based business writer with 20 years experience in entertainment, transport and security.

The organization, Canadian Tire Corporation, operates a number of retail businesses selling not just tires but, a wide range of different products and even financial services. Canadian Tire Retail is Canada's largest and most-shopped general merchandise retailer, selling everything from home products, hardware, tools, automotive parts, sports, camping, lawn and garden products in addition to tires.

All about Canadian Tire

The chain is also known for its promotional genius, specifically its own currency: money from Canadian Tire.  Canada has been using and collecting this for decades which began as a customer loyalty program  in 1958 and is still running strong.

Canadian Tire Corporation is a publicly listed company with around 57,000 employees. Its origins go back to 1922 when co-founders Alfred J. Biles and J. William Biles first started their journey in retail. Its headquarters are in Toronto, Ontario, where the original tire store that the co-founders started together was opened.

Introducing the Family

Canadian Tire is predominantly a tire retailer. However, it has acquired some bolt-on organizations that assist its operations and satisfy market demand. In addition, it has generated some extra businesses through the organic growth of the organization. Canadian Tire has a number of divisions; its retail arm, PartSource Automotive Stores, Canadian Tire Financial Services, Canadian Tire Petroleum, and Mark's Work Wearhouse.

So the next question is, “What exactly does the different divisions of Canadian Tire do”?

Canadian Tire Retail

At the last check there were 475 stores bearing the name Canadian Tire.  Canada has them from coast to coast. The chain sells just about everything  from fireplace fascias to digital temperature readers. They also offer roadside assistance and try to be a trendsetting organization through their Jumpstart program and selection of environmentally friendly products.

Of course, Canadian Tire sells tires, which is still the main reason many people shop with them after all these years. There's a wide variety of weather conditions that different Canadian citizen encounter and they all tend to find their needs at Canadian Tire, Canada market needs such as  Michelin Destiny and Goodyear Allegra, light truck tires like the Motomaster Total Terrain and Goodyear Wrangler, as well as performance tires like the Uniroyal Tigerpaw. They stock the brands BF Goodrich, Continental, Cooper, Dunlop, General, General Tire, Goodyear, Michelin, Motomaster and Uniroyal.

Canadian Tire Retail offers alloy rims, winter rims, tire gauges and monitors, tire storage, wheel covers. They also sell winter tires.


The PartSource chain specializes in automotive parts and provides for the professional automotive installers of Canada, as well as the serious do-it-yourselfer. Their catalogue is downloadable from the website at and includes all the usual stuff like Monroe Gas Shocks, Exide Batteries, Antifreeze, and Mobil oils. The online part look-up facility enables the user to find any part for their vehicle, whether they drive a Ferrari, Bentley, Dodge, Hino, Fiat and just about anything else you can think of.

Canadian Tire Financial Services

Canadian Tire Financial Services operates as a bank, under Canada's Bank Act. It's a division of the organization that has probably been generated by a need to provide finance for its customers, but it's blossomed to become something much bigger. In addition to finance for customers, Canadian Tire Financial Services launched credit and loan products like Personal Loans, Insurance and Warranty Products, as well as Credit Cards. It also operates the emergency roadside service component of the organization. In addition, Canadian Tire Financial Services manages the Canadian Tire Money program.

Canadian Tire Petroleum

Canadian Tire Petroleum is one of Canada's largest and most productive independent retailers of gasoline. It operates 273 gas bars, 266 convenience stores and 74 car washes right across the country. Canadian Tire Petroleum locations are at the busy-end of the Canadian market, pumping twice as much as the industry average (around 17,000 liters each day).

Canadian Tire Corporation uses its credit card line to promote the Canadian Tire Petroleum, offering between 2 cents and 10 cents per liter discount on gas for users of the credit card service.

Canadian Tire Corporation offers Canadian Tire Petroleum as a franchise. The franchise fees range between $30, 000 to $50,000, so if you are interested in being your own boss, this might be something to look at.

Mark's Work Wearhouse

Founded in 1977, Mark's Work Wearhouse supplies unisex apparel, including business casual, weekend and work wear clothing. It was acquired by the Canadian Tire Corporation in 2001 as a suitable bolt-on division that would complement its existing business. Mark's Work Wearhouse operates more than 370 stores across Canada and its products include purses, belts, gloves, socks, headwear, underwear, safety gear, work socks, shoes, hikers, and sandals, work boots, shirts, sweats, tops, fleece, sweaters, pants, shorts, skirts, jackets, vests, and rainwear.

Canadian Tire Corporation estimates that two thirds of adult Canadians shop at Mark's Work Wearhouse. It is the third-largest retailer of men's apparel and the second largest retailer of men's jeans and casual pants in the country.

Getting Back to Tires and Other Stuff

Canadian Tire Corporation has its hands in a lot of different businesses but still reminds us of the basics. Canadian Tire Corp recommends proper tire maintenance with special attention to the following;

  • Balancing - Tires should be balanced to ensure vibration-free ride and to avoid damage to steering and suspension components.

  • Alignment - Inspect your tires. Any feathering of the tread face, apparent to eye or touch, is a reliable sign of misalignment or worn suspension.

  • Avoid curb scuffing - it's a frequent cause of wheel misalignment.

  • 2-wheel or 4-wheel alignment? All four wheels should be properly aligned. It's particularly important to check 4-wheel alignment on FWD vehicles because they lack a rear drive axle, which tends to keep rear wheels in alignment.

  • Inflation - The most frequent cause of radial tire failure is under-inflation! Even extreme under-inflation can be difficult to detect by mere inspection - don't depend on it, use a personal tire pressure gauge.

  • Under inflated or overloaded tires, generate high levels of destructive, internal heat, which could, eventually, cause your tires to blow out! Extreme under-inflation can even unseat the tire from the rim while your vehicle is in motion!

  • Correct air pressure ensures longer tire life, improved economy and lower risk of accident.

  • Rotation - To prevent uneven wear, tire rotation is very important. Rotation equalizes wear between tires mounted on driver wheels and those on free-rolling positions.


Other useful links

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