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If the latest Tim Hortons ad didn't make you well up, you're part of the minority.

The ad depicts an emotional airport reunion between an immigrant, his wife and kids. The man gives his wife a Tim Hortons coffee and swaddles the whole gang - dressed in what appears to be traditional garb - in winter outerwear. Welcome to life in Canada.

Added intrigue: The words "based on a true story" appear during the ad.

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Many viewers speculated about the family behind it. Where did they come from? Where are they now?

Sorry to burst your bubble, Canada, but it turns out that the phrase "based on a true story" was used liberally.



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"It is an amalgamation of stories," says David Morelli, a spokesperson for Tim Hortons.

The man at the centre of the ad, who alternates between the South African language of Xhosa and heavily accented English, doesn't actually exist.

He was portrayed by actor and playwright Andrew Moodie, who was born and raised in Ottawa.

Mr. Moodie chuckled upon hearing that some didn't realize he was an actor and had analyzed his accent to determine his country of origin.

Mr. Morelli says the ad's story came from snippets of tales that Canadians submitted by e-mail or posted on the promotional site everycup.ca; in particular, one from an immigrant woman who picked up Tim's coffee for her family before she went to meet them at the airport.

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Mr. Morelli says he's pleased with all the responses to the ad, but one in particular left him puzzled. A very comprehensive story appeared as a comment on a few blogs this week, relating how the man is a Kenyan chemical engineer named Efonyeh who settled in Grande Prairie, Alta. Apparently, after six months, he sponsored his family to join him, and he and his wife worked at Tim Hortons to pay the bills.

"I have no idea where that came from," Mr. Morelli says with a laugh. "It's so detailed!"

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