Happy Doughnut Day! Though technically a United States food holiday, Canada is all about this holiday too. Why is June 3rd Doughnut Day? The Salvation Army declared June 3rd Doughnut Day in 1938, in honour of the ladies who served coffee and doughnuts to soldiers in the trenches during World War I. Since then, bakeries and doughnut connoisseurs have been celebrating their delicious creations and using them to raise money for the Salvation Army!

Keep reading for some interesting information about doughnut lore, its rise to prominence, and where you can pick up your own free doughnuts today!

Doughnut Lore

According to “legend,” doughnuts were created by ship captain Hanson Gregory’s mother, Elizabeth, in the mid-19th century. She supposedly made them so her son and his crew could have pastries on their journey which could be made from the cargo ingredients Hanson stored on his ship: nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon rind. Concerned they might not cook through, she put hazelnuts or walnuts in the center, hence the term doughnut. 

Then the stories get weirder. Captain Gregory is credited for poking out the middles to make then true doughnuts, though there isn’t one set story on why. Some say it was to preserve ingredients, others say he didn’t like the nuts, while my personal favourite story is that he was eating one while steering the ship in a storm, and skewered it on a spoke of his wheel when he needed two hands.

Whatever the doughnut’s true origin, it took off in the United States in the 20th century. Adolph Levitt was the first to create a doughnut machine in 1920, which he was making $25 million a year off of by the 1930s. Joe LeBeau sold his recipe and the name of Krispy Kreme to Ishmael Armstrong, who hired his nephew, Vernon Rudolph. It was Rudolph and a couple friends who really set the Krispy Kreme franchise off to a right start, making it what it is today.

Canadian Style – Tim Horton’s

Let’s not neglect our beloved Canadian chains, though! If you ever step outside your house, you are aware of Tim Horton’s huge presence throughout Canada. You can basically find one on every street corner, offering up its blessed coffee and baked goods.

Tim Horton’s was created by none other than Tim Horton, whose name was actually Miles Gilbert. Defense-man for the NHL, mostly playing for the Maple Leafs, Horton opened up his first store in Hamilton in 1964, to supplement his income in the off seasons. Coffee and donuts were a mere 10 cents each. In 1974, Tim Horton unfortunately passed away, but his chain lived on and now has over 4,500 stores world-wide. Fun fact: the 2000th store was opened here in Toronto, at Richmond and Sherbourne.

Doughnut or Donut?

The age-old question, how should you spell this fried treat? Both terms are technically correct, though preference is clear. Doughnut is the older, “official” term, which is still favoured in publications and outside the U.S. Donut is the shortened term which first appeared in the late 1800s, but wasn’t popularized until the late 20th century when Dunkin’ Donuts kicked off it’s once chain of bakeries.

Celebrate with a Doughnut – Right Outside Campus!

Looking to get your doughnut fix around campus? Jelly Modern Doughnuts at 376 College Street is giving away free vanilla glazed mini doughnuts, filled with chocolate pastry cream. They are also selling decorated doughnuts, with 10% of the profits going to the Salvation Army. Jelly Modern is a Canadian company which makes preservative-free, local and organic doughnuts fresh in-store, so be sure to check it out! Or, if you’re looking for more classic fare, head over to Krispy Kreme‘s location at 215 Harbord Street. All locations are giving out free doughnuts, no purchases necessary, though they encourage you to donate to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettles at their cashes!

Feel like trying to make your own? Doughnut holes are super easy treats you can make at home with regular equipment, no stand-mixer or fancy attachments required! Try out these recipes for Glazed Doughnut Holes and Glazed Chocolate Doughnut Holes from our recipe box.

Happy Doughnut Day!

– Emily Hotton


BlogTO – National Donut Day 2016 in Toronto
The Canadian Encyclopedia – Tim Horton
Grammarist – Doughtnut vs. Donut
Salvation Army – Donut Day History
Tim Horton’s – Our Story