Top 10 List: Best Donuts on Vancouver Island

It’s Top 10 Tuesday and we’ve got a “treat” for you this week!  We’ve listed the best places to get a donut (or do you spell it doughnut?!) around the island!

I have some pretty “sweet” childhood memories spinning in brown chairs and snacking on the famous-when-I-younger walnut crunches and Robin’s Eggs donuts when my Dad and I would visit at Robin’s Donuts at the old Harewood Mall in Nanaimo. When we came up with the idea for this post, I realized that donuts were a pretty important part of my childhood and I’ve always felt like they were just the best treat.

  1. Billy G’s Donuts, Coombs, BC
  2. Bigfoot Donuts, Courtenay, BC
  3. Empire Donuts, Victoria, BC
  4. Yonni’s Doughnuts, Victoria, BC
  5. Rhino Tofino, Tofino, BC
  6. The Donut Shop, Port Alberni, BC
  7. Cumberland Village Bakery, Cumberland, BC
  8. Mad Dawg Donuts, Nanaimo, BC
  9. Perks Donuts, Campbell River, BC
  10. Columbia Bakery, Nanaimo, BC

Growing up, my Dad worked shift work and would often leave me a donut for breakfast when he got home from night shift.  We both love this memory and, fast forward to today, he was thrilled to help me research this post! In our research, we discovered we are clearly not the only ones who love donuts… All the donut shops on our list often sell out quickly (trust me, I had to go back a few times to complete my research) so be sure to go grab a donut early!  To learn more about why this is our Top 10 List, read on below!

Billy G’s Donuts, Coombs, BC

Donut shot at Coombs, Vancouver IslandDonuts at Coombs, Vancouver Island, best donuts

When the ice cream shop here at Coombs Old Country Market burst at the seams a few years ago and got its own beautiful shop across the parking lot, the cozy A-Frame building got some new life too. Billy G’s Donuts moved right in and I welcomed it with wide eyes and drool. I’ll take a donut over ice cream any day! There are over twenty flavours and include local creations such as Highway 4A, French Creek Fog Cream, and my personal favourite Coombs Cut-Off (filled with Bavarian cream and topped with a gorgeous chocolate ganache.

Bigfoot Donuts, Courtenay, BC

Bigfoot doughnuts, Courtenay, best donuts, strawberry donut

Opened by a wife and husband team, this donut & coffee shop is a perfect fit on 5th street — a charming downtown street in Courtenay. Their brioche donuts are made with real whole ingredients (read: lots of butter, lots of eggs) and take 18 hours to make. Visit often as they have three new feature donuts each month. I was lucky enough to try the strawberry cheesecake feature. It was divine and actually tasted like real fresh strawberries.

Empire Donuts, Victoria, BC

My friend once told me that donuts here put all other donuts to shame and I tend to agree.  You never quite know what to expect flavor wise when you visit Empire and they create seasonal varieties (like their figgy pudding fritter at Christmas time) but they have a high standard and quality is always top-notch. It’s one of my fav mornings to grab a coffee and a donut and go browse in Russell Books for a bit while in Victoria.  Empire Donuts also supplies to a number of coffee shops in Victoria, including 2% Jazz and Picnic Coffee, so be on the lookout for a tasty treat throughout the city!

Yonni’s Doughnuts, Victoria, BC

Yonni's donuts, victoria doughnuts, strawberry, cruller

Yonni’s doughnuts are hand-made in a shop in downtown Victoria and sold at Discovery Coffee shops. New feature doughnuts are made available each month and they run with the season where possible!  For instance, they had cherry cola striped doughnuts for Canada Day, rainbow doughnuts for Pride, and lavender and lemon for spring. I was fortunate enough to try the Strawberry Kiwi. It was a delicious ray of summer sunshine.

Rhino Tofino, Tofino, BC

Donuts, coffee, and sandy beaches… that’s my favourite version of Tofino! Conveniently located right on Campbell Street in downtown Tofino, this very popular donut shop sells out early so grab a coffee and donut before you hit the waves. They even have a sour cream glazed donut made with local beer from the Tofino Brewing Company. Lucky for us on the east coast of the island, they’ll be opening a Rhino Nanaimo location soon!

The Donut Shop, Port Alberni, BC

donut shot, port alberni, vancouver island doughnuts

A trip to the Harbour Quay in Port Alberni must include a visit to the Donut Shop!  The most popular donut here is their Maple Bacon creation but the very close runner-up is their Chocolate Smartie donut which is LOADED with Smarties. On all the donuts, you’ll find lots and lots of sprinkles, fulfilling a childhood dream of mine.  These donuts are amazing! I had a sugar-coated mini donut and it was a perfect desert to my lunch at Porto Taco (read more about that on our Top 10 Taco Tuesday List!)

Cumberland Village Bakery, Cumberland, BC

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Here, you find the best donuts and, according to rumours, they are still using the same recipe they did back when the bakery opened!  That’s good for you and me because it means you’ll get the same amazing donut every time!  They’ve gotten creative with all their different flavours over the years and have branched out to include the sinful cronut (when a croissant and a donut get married!) as an option now too.  Whatever your decision, you won’t regret it… The only thing you regret about this place is not going more often!

Mad Dawg Donuts, Nanaimo, BC

Maddawg donuts, nanaimo, wee cupcakery, vancouver island

Located in the tiny Wee Cupcakery in downtown Nanaimo, these artisan donuts have their own wee spot in the shop. These donuts aren’t your traditional style though, these baked cake donuts come in a variety of flavours such as lavender, toffee crunch, and coconut. I think the toffee crunch was my favourite. The macarons are also amazing!

Perks Donuts, Campbell River, BC

Perks donuts, campbell river, doughnuts, vancouver island

Based on testimonials and reviews alone, this place should be on the list for sure!  People become instant fans after their first visit to Perks, an independent, old-school donut shop with lots of variety.  Their traditional jam-filled donuts take you back to a simpler time and the donuts here are so popular with residents and visitors alike!  If the donuts happen to sell out (which happens frequently!), you’ll be just as happy with any of their treats (e.g. cinnamon buns, fresh bread, cookies, etc) and the staff are friendly and awesome and will make you feel less sad about not getting a donut.

Columbia Bakery, Nanaimo, BC

Columbia bakery, nanaimo, yeast donuts, vancouver island doughnuts

Opened in 1972, this European bakery is home to many wonderful sweet and savoury treats. My ultimate favourite though is their traditional glazed donut. They’ve perfected the recipe of a fluffy yeast donut with the perfect amount of sugary glaze. If you’re looking for this basic childhood treat you certainly won’t be disappointed. There is one location in Central Nanaimo and one in the North end of Nanaimo.

So… Did we get it right?  Did your donut place make the list or do you know of another shop that’s worthy of the list?  Comment below to let us know!

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