robins donuts

Robin's Donuts is the chain in Canada that might be more popular than Tim Hortons

If you've never heard of Robin's Donuts, you're apparently missing out.

Canadians seem to have a weird sense of doughnut nationalism if last month's #DonutGate — when people became enraged that Prime Minister Trudeau bought doughnuts from an indie bakery rather than from Tim Hortons — is any indication.

And while Canada's iconic Tim Hortons is apparently struggling to maintain sales and please customers, Robin's is another homegrown coffee and doughnut chain that some residents reckon is even better.

Robin's, formerly known as Robin's Donuts, has 152 locations in total across all provinces but Quebec according to its website, though it seems to be best known in the Prairies and on the east coast.

Only two Robin's currently remain in B.C., and there are 23 in Ontario, most of them in Thunder Bay.

The shop offers doughnuts that seem a little more gourmet than Tim's, such as the Reese's Pieces and Reese Peanut Butter Cup doughnuts, along with "Robin's eggs," its version of Timbits.​​​​​​

It also, of course, has coffee along with other hot and iced drinks in signature orange cups with the company logo: a robin in a chef's hat sipping on some java. (Branded reusable tumblers are available, too.)

Comparable to Timmies' Roll up the Rim is Robin's admittedly less-rewarding Sip to Win contest, where customers can win coffee pods, gift cards and more.

The chain also offers the usual cafe staples of breakfast and lunch sandwiches, bagels, muffins and cookies, soups, and other food items, as well as take-home coffee in the form of grounds or Keurig cups.

Essentially, Robin's, which has been around since 1975, is very much like Tim Hortons, except in many ways better, according to fans. (The mascot and the apostrophe in the name have already won this writer over.)

And the chain is apparently doing okay, with new outposts still popping up all over the country as recently as late January, 2020.

It also has a dedication to animal, environmental and social welfare — very 2020 of them.

It seems the franchise has picked up quite a cult following from coast to coast, where those who know about Robin's know.

Many social media users seem absolutely dedicated to their beloved brand, which many remember from their childhood before Tim Hortons went on to dominate many Canadian small towns.

For those of us who are just hearing of Robin's and have yet to try it, it definitely feels like we're missing out on an important piece of Canadiana.

Lead photo by

Robins Donuts


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Food & Drink

This Canadian city is known as the Slurpee Capital of the World

Kraft drops pumpkin spice KD in Canada and people don't know what to think

The history of the Sourtoe Cocktail and how it became Canada's most unusual drink

How the Deep'n Delicious cake became a cult favourite in Canada

How Habitant pea soup became a grocery store staple in Canada

The secret to great poutine according to the founder of Smoke's Poutinerie

The history of Canadian butter tarts and how they've changed since the first recipe

The cult of Kraft Dinner in Canada and the weird recipes people make