A Taste of Canada: Doughnuts in the Great White North – 20 Facts

No matter what, here’s what we can all agree on about doughnuts: They are delicious and are the perfect little treat for any time of the day. These deep-fried snacks are one of the most popular foods around the world. They come in all varieties and can be glazed, cream-filled, custard-filled, honey-dipped, covered with sugar or cinnamon, or topped with cake frosting. 

Although we love gobbling down doughnuts, most of us don’t know that there is an entire country that’s doughnut-obsessed. Canadians eat more doughnuts and have more doughnuts shops per capita than any other country in the whole world!

Are you ready to discover what’s so special about doughnuts and Canada? Read on and find out!

These are 20 interesting facts most people don’t know about doughnuts and Canada:

1. A Doughnut Loving Country

Canada ranks as the number one doughnut consumer (per capita) on the entire planet. People here eat more of these sugary treats than any other people in the world. As you would expect, Canada has the most doughnut shops per capita of any other country on earth, followed by Japan.

Canadians are also crazy about coffee. And since coffee and doughnuts make a good match, they help each other rank up in popularity.

2. Popular Canadian Doughnut Chains

The Italians relish their pizza cafes, and the Japanese patronize sushi bars. As for Canadians, they are sweet on doughnut shops. In the long, cold Canadian winters, doughnut shops wafting with the smell of coffee and fresh doughnuts make a cozy refuge and welcoming breakfast and snack stops.

The number one doughnut shop chain in Canada is none other than Tim Hortons. In fact, Tim Hortons alone has around 5,000 restaurants selling this deep-fried dough throughout the globe.

3. Doughnut Eating Capital

If you are looking for the doughnut-eating capital of Canada, you can be sure that it’s none other than Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan. This is because the people here consume more doughnuts per capita than in any other Canadian city. So, if there were a doughnut-eating competition, the award would most likely go to Lloydminster.

4. The CN Tower and Doughnuts

If you’ve ever been to the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, you know it’s a pretty tall building. The CN Tower stands at a staggering 1,815 feet (553.33m), making it the tallest freestanding structure in the entire Western Hemisphere.

But what does that have to do with doughnuts? Well, if you took all the Tim Hortons doughnuts that the Canadians ate in a given year and piled them horizontally, one on top of another, it would reach the height of the CN Tower!

5. The Men Behind Tim Hortons Doughnuts

Tim Hortons is a Canadian fast-food chain that has about 5,000 shops around the world. But it all began from a single shop in Hamilton, Ontario, on May 17, 1964. It started with a single man, Tim Horton, a hockey star who always dreamed of owning a restaurant. Tim’s first venture was a hamburger shop in Scarborough, but the doughnut shop in Hamilton made his fortune.

Sadly, Tim Horton died in a car crash in 1974. Ron Joyce took over and turned it into the billion-dollar business it is now today. Ron Joyce became the man who made Tim Horton doughnuts and coffee a Canadian staple. Without these two men’s dreams and hard work, Tim Hortons as we know it today would never exist.

6. Rise of Doughnut Shops

While doughnuts were always present in Canadian kitchens, the idea of mass-producing them came from the United States. Doughnuts were primarily found in bakeries and supermarkets, but with the rise in coffee consumption, specialized doughnut shops sprang up during the 1950s. 

Doughnuts have always been a convenient food for Canadians. There are stories from the 1930s about walking right through shops with cups of coffee lined up with a doughnut resting on top!

7. Men’s Hangouts Place

By the 1980s, doughnut shops had emerged as a male-dominated social space. It was a place for men working night shifts to have a coffee and doughnut break. Thankfully, companies realized the importance of broadening their market and turned it into the family-friendly place it is today.

8. Voodoo Doughnuts

Voodoo Doughnuts is a Portland-based doughnut shop known for its quirky confectionaries and cult-like following. Their most notorious doughnuts were coated with Nyquil, Pepto-Bismol sprinkled with Tums. They were soon stopped by a scolding from the health officials for including medicine in food.

9. A Very Long Doughnut

One of the longest doughnuts was made by Keith Jorgenson and Nestor’s Bakery in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, on November 24, 2015. It measured 19 feet, 2 inches (5.842 meters)! The funds raised were used to build a new school building in Saskatoon.

10. National Doughnut Day

Doughnut Day is celebrated throughout the United States and Canada on the first Monday of June. The day has been recognized since 1938.

Doughnut manufacturers did not create the day as you would expect, but by the Salvation Army to honor women volunteers who served doughnuts to soldiers during WWI. The soldiers called these brave women “Doughnut Dollies” who looked forward to the sugary treats.

Today, National Doughnut Day is celebrated to raise awareness of the Salvation Army and to honor the veterans who fought long ago.

11. Costs of Doughnuts in the Old Days

We already know that Tim Hortons is the most popular doughnut shop in the country. When it first opened doors back in 1964, you could get a doughnut and a cup of coffee for just 10 cents! Good old days, indeed! 

12. ‘How I Met Your Mother’

What does the popular US sitcom have to do with doughnuts? The Canadian-born character Robin Scherbatsky goes to Tim Hortons with Barney. Sipping a cup of coffee, Robin comments that she is “in the most Canadian place in the universe.” 

13. The Doughnut Shape

Of course, doughnuts are round, right? Well, not exactly. Geometrically speaking, the shape of a doughnut is called a “toroid.” Just for your information, a torus is a mathematical term for a doughnut shape or a rubber ring with a hole in the center.

14. Tim Horton Store Sign

The Tim Horton sign has grown sleeker and modern through the years. However, the original store sign pictured four doughnuts. It may sound odd to some of us, but the four doughnuts represented Tim Horton’s four daughters! 

15. Timbits Twitter War

A simple tweet can spur a worldwide war. So the question was, “What do u call these?” The “these” referred to a round, bite-sized dough snack.

Canadians quickly replied that it was called a “Timbit” since Tim Hortons sells these snacks. However, Dunkin Donuts fans from the US and worldwide asserted that they were called “munchkins.”

One Canadian got into a debate about the origins of Timbits, tweeting, “… They’re actually called Timbits. Prepare to have YOUR kneecaps boiled in the name of Canada.”

Another all-out Canadian wrote, “They are called Timbits. If you call them something else, I will kindly duel you at dawn where the beaver and moose cross the maple syrup farms.”

Some claimed that they were nothing but” doughnut holes.” Others jested that they were “heart attack treats,” “diabetes dots,” or “moose turds.”

Whatever you call it, we can all agree that these doughy balls are absolutely delicious!

16. A “Priestly” Doughnut

Yes, Canada has a thing called “Priestley” doughnut. And yes, it is in honor of the Canadian actor Jason Priestly. An episode inspired Tim Hortons in ‘How I Met Your Mother’ where the Beverly Hills 90210 alumnus stuffs a chocolate Timbit into a strawberry-filled donut and calls it “The Priestley.”

17. Apple Fritters or Dutchie?

In the 1960s, Canadian Tim Horton invented the Apple Fritter and Dutchie varieties of doughnuts. In fact, Tim Horton used to have only these two doughnuts to offer at the start!

18. A Double-Double, Please

Whenever you go to Tim Hortons for a doughnut and coffee, you should order a “double-double,” which means a coffee with two creams and two sugars. In fact, the order made its way to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary in 2004.

19. Not Just In Canada

Canadians also love sharing their yummy doughnuts with the world. Tim Hortons is now found in many countries worldwide.

20. Doughnuts Vs. McDonald’s

Tim Hortons is the number one fast-food chain in Canada, outselling any other food chain, including McDonald’s. Tim Hortons accounts for about one-fourth of all fast-food revenues in the whole country.

Last Word

Canada’s affair with this sweet and sugary treat is indeed interesting! What could be more perfect than a warm cup of coffee and a freshly baked doughnut on a cold, wintry day? But you don’t have to be Canadian to enjoy doughnuts! So sink your teeth into that deliciousness and enjoy your day.

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This article was co-authored by our team of writers and editors who share one thing in common: their passion for food and drinks!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco works as a New York-based editor at Foodrinke, driven by his lifelong love for food. His culinary journey began in childhood, as he eagerly assisted his mother with her local sandwich and bakery business, relishing every opportunity to sample her creations. Known among family and friends as an easy eater, JC has a particular affinity for Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and Peruvian cuisine. At Foodrinke, he channels his passion for food into his work, sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with readers.