By Kristin Archer

I’ve been dreaming of doing a “donut run” series for years. By George, I’ve done it. I hit up some local favourites, Grandad’s, Donut Monster, The Donut Stop, Doughboy, Mulberry Coffeehouse, Democracy Coffeehouse, Sunshine Doughnuts in Burlington, and of course the first Tim Hortons. It was a tasty task.

Donuts are a mainstay, classic treat while also having their moment as a hipster trend at the same time. In Hamilton (and the surrounding area) that means there are more places to get a decent donut than ever before.

Let the donut run begin!

Grandad's Donuts
Grandad’s Donuts
Grandad’s Donuts

Grandad’s Donuts (574 James St. N)
A fitting name for this one, because Grandad’s really is the granddaddy of all the Hamilton donuts. New owners took over this donut shop (pictured here in the feature photo) in 2007. In that short time it has become beloved and already deemed a classic. And rightfully so. These are classic, irresistible donuts, made fresh every day at Some faves: Ghostbuster, Cherry Stick, and good Old Fashion Glaze.

London Fog by Donut Monster

Donut Monster (246 Locke St. S)
Ah, Donut Monster! These small-batch, from-scratch delights stole the hearts of Hamiltonians when the business launched in 2015. These gourmets donuts are delivered to over 20 local spots every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings including Cannon Coffee Co, Vintage Coffee, Cafe Oranje, Relay Coffee, Horn Of Plenty (see a full list), plus local markets and events.

What sets them apart is the creativity of the seasonally-inspired flavours. Think Roasted Sweet Potato Fritter, Tequila Lime, Blueberry Pistachio, Lavender Sugar, Raspberry Habanero, Matcha Bomb, and London Fog made with Monarch Tea Co.’s Cream Earl Grey (pictured above).

Bonus: Donut Monster lovers, rejoice! The business opened a storefront on Locke Street and received overwhelming support with their crowd-funding campaign. Expect a lot more sweet treats beyond donuts, including milkshakes!

Vanilla donut from Mulberry Coffee

Mulberry Coffeehouse (193 James St. N)
Democracy Coffee House (202 Locke St. S)
It has got to be difficult for vegans in the land of donuts, but fret not, Mulberry Coffeehouse and Democracy have your back. Every day there are new colourful flavours on their counters that catch my eye every time. They’re smaller than your average donut but are filling and dense. You can taste that these were made with love daily in their respective coffeeshops.

Sunshine Doughnuts, Burlington. Photo by Luisa Falletta-Caravasso
Sunshine Doughnuts, Burlington. Photo by Luisa Falletta-Caravasso
The Sunshine Doughnut Co.

The Sunshine Doughnut Co. (439 Brock Ave, Burlington)
When you spot that giant donut in the sky, you know you’re in the right place. Yes, this one isn’t in Hamilton, but with a name like Sunshine Donuts, how could I not include it. True to its namesake, the takeout spot is bright and sunny with vibrantly coloured donuts to choose from. The festive Birthday Cake and seasonal Egg Nog baked goods I tried were delectable. Sunshine is also run by the same owners as the delicious Son Of A Peach pizzeria.

Doughboy Donuts
Doughboy Donuts

Doughboy Donuts (635 Greenhill Ave.)
Doughboy is a newer donut on the block – located in Greenhill Plaza in Hamilton’s east end. Made fresh daily, they switch up their flavours with different features and are big on the toppings (Fruit Loops in the case of the Breakfast Cereal flavour I tried). You can grab them to-go like I did, or take a seat in their bright red chairs if you can’t resist eating your treat right there.

The Donut Stop
Cherry Bar from The Donut Stop

The Donut Stop (617 Parkdale St. N)
Located on the outskirts of the industrial east end, The Donut Stop is essentially a truck stop, but oh, the donuts! Open 24 hours, the diner has your time-honoured flavours to choose from at an inexpensive price. I love a divey spot like this; it feels very Twin Peaks to hit up a diner on the edge of town and grab a cuppa Joe, which, as the sign boasts, is “Hamilton’s Most Satisfying Coffee.”

Vanilla Dip in Tiger Cats colours by Tim Hortons
First Tim Hortons location

Tim Hortons (65 Ottawa St. N)
I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that Hamilton is home to the first ever Tim Hortons. Opening its doors on May 17th, 1964, a national treasure was born. The original location on Ottawa Street was knocked down, but rebuilt, in 2015. The storefront always displayed classic Timmie’s memorabilia, but the renovation now holds even more, making it a full Tim Hortons museum on the second floor. Take a walk through decades of iconic Tim’s branding over the past 50 years while you munch on, what else, a donut.

Note: There is a current movement to support workers of Tim Hortons during the company’s response to minimum wage laws. (Learn more)

Originally posted January 11, 2018 on The Inlet.

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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