Homemade or purchased from your local bakery, donuts are sweet snacks popular around the globe. They come in many shapes and sizes with toppings like chocolate or maple glaze, cinnamon, sugar, and so much more. With options aplenty, finding someone who doesn’t like donuts one way, or the other is rare. 

You might be wondering — where do the beginnings of this delicious treat originate? Over the years, archaeologists have regularly turned up fossils, shaped like donuts, from areas where there were previous Native American settlements. However, it is well recounted that donuts, as we know them today, were brought to the New York City borough of Manhattan in the early 19th century under the Dutch name olykoeks, which translates to oily cakes. It wasn’t long until popularity reached new levels. In 1920, New York city baker Adolph Levitt developed the first donut-making machine to help him keep up with demand. Before this, donuts had to be made one by one in a frying pan!

Today, donuts have become go-to items to pair with a morning coffee or a post-dinner dessert and everything in-between. In most metropolitan cities, you’d be hard-pressed not to find a coffee shop on almost every street corner. Locals and visitors to Canada will understand what we’re talking about with our abundance of Tim Hortons locations across the country. Most of them also sell donuts. So, enjoying one of these decorated treats isn’t hard to do at almost any time of the day. With Donut Appreciation Day occurring annually on the 5th of November, we wanted to run through a few unique donut shops in Canada that serve up items going beyond the norm. Some of them are so enticing you might consider adding them to an upcoming trip itinerary.

Enjoy Vegan & Gluten-Free Options at Cartems Donuts in Vancouver, BC

Whether you have specific dietary restrictions, or a preference for something a little healthier, Cartems Donuts, located near historic Gastown, has you covered. What makes them unique? They use fresh ingredients sourced close to the city. In fact, they try to bake with exclusively organic ingredients when available. Oh and, they never freeze their donuts.

Cartems Donuts also has an entire menu of vegan and gluten-free options including, salted caramel and earl grey donuts. They are baked, not fried, so they don’t cross-contaminate with other donuts on the menu. The dough is always vegan, and for the most part, so too is the glaze and toppings.

Visit the Original Gourmet Donut Shop in Canada – Jelly Modern Doughnuts in Calgary, AB

Located inside Mount Royal Place, near the 17th Avenue shopping district, is Jelly Modern Doughnuts. They claim to be the original gourmet Donut shop in Canada. Visitors can treat themselves to a selection of donuts made with preservative-free ingredients that are predominately organic. For the ultimate in fresh flavors, everything is made in-house. And when we say everything, we mean it. That includes the glazes, icings, and filings. Their sophisticated lineup of donuts is impressive. If you’re looking for something unique, try a hand-dipped Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, available five days a week.

When they were planning out the opening of their shop, they aimed to create a small-town bakery feel in a big city. They accomplished just that. In addition to the shop ambiance, visitors will appreciate eco-friendly touches like interior elements crafted from bamboo and recyclable packaging.

Check out the Fresh & Seasonal Donut Offerings at Bronuts in Winnipeg, MB

One of the most famous donut shops in Winnipeg is Bronuts. Located in downtown Winnipeg, their offerings are unique, delicious, and well-thought-out. After a trip to San Francisco for specialized artisan dough training and about 90 attempts at the perfect main recipe, they were ready to roll out delicious treats at their shop. 

Today, they bake and serve with the same passion as they did on day one. The baking process begins at 3 AM, and it involves crafting more than just the shell of the donut. The toppings, jam, and custard are also all made from scratch. There are many unique options to choose from, so settling on a single option isn’t going to be easy. We think you’ll need to grab a box of 6 to go just to make sure you don’t miss out on one of the amazing flavors. The Arthur, which is an Apple Cinnamon Fritter is a staple and a favorite. They often sell out of seasonal specials and even regular menu items before closing, therefore, the earlier you can arrive, the better!

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Donut Monster in Hamilton, ON

Despite Donut Monster being relatively new on the scene, they are already well known for supplying some of the sweetest treats in Hamilton and surrounding areas. It all started in 2015 when they exclusively supplied independent coffee shops and grocery stores with delicious donuts made at the Kitchen Collective, a commercial space designed to give entrepreneurs the equipment they need to get their creations to market. In 2018, they opened their storefront location on Locke Street in Hamilton. A popular spot for locals and tourists to enjoy shopping and must-try culinary stops. 

What about the donuts? Where do we begin! The yeast-risen dough is soft with a light, chewy texture. Besides the quality of their menu items, a real defining characteristic of their offering is their creation of seasonal glazes and garnishes to create combinations you may have never imagined possible. Don’t believe us? Consider vegan raspberry peanut butter toast or sweet chili heat donut options. Menu items change regularly, so we can’t guarantee these varieties will be available at the time of your visit. When looking up and down the menu, the options may seem endless. To ensure you get a taste of the hype, we recommend pre-ordering more than just a couple in advance.

Explore Fun-Sized Selections at DoughNats in Montreal, QC

A short drive from downtown Montreal is DoughNats. It’s a bakery, but the staff would classify it as an experience.’ When you take a look at their offering, you’ll understand why. Not only do they make donuts, but they also create and sell popcorn, cookies, cake, and ice cream. However, sticking with the donuts, they take the classic size down to a three-bite variation, called DoughNats, perfect for those who want to snack light or save room for other items on the menu. The donuts are often dressed in eye-catching icings and a variety of toppings. Best of all, they launch a new lineup of DoughNats every season, so there will likely be something new to try if you’re a regular visitor. 

Nathalie Kaspy-Shtern, known as Chef Nat around the shop, is a licensed criminologist who also has three university degrees. Despite her impressive educational accolades, her passion lies in the kitchen. So, why are they called DoughNats? Well, their distinct appearance, combined with the touch of Chef Nat, and you get DoughNats’, of course!

Prefer to Stay in? Make Cinnamon Baked Donuts at Home!

Make your own masterpiece! Stay in and get baking with one of the best (and easiest) baked donuts recipe. Follow along with renowned chef Ina Garten who explains the thirty-five-minute process in four simple steps. 

Try it yourself — Cinnamon-baked donuts by Ina Garten

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