The Donut Shop

The Harbour Quay in Port Alberni is home of The Donut Shop, maker of “The best donuts on Vancouver Island” and possibly the world. The Harbour Quay and The Donut Shop have a symbiotic relationship: one cannot exist without the other. If you go to the Harbour Quay, you get donuts and if you’re getting donuts, you go to the Harbour Quay.


The shop is open at 7:00am, which is probably a little on the late side for the fisher-folk regulars who are no doubt pressing their noses against the glass in anticipation of fresh coffee. Aside from donuts, the menu has some classic sandwich offerings for lunch: grilled cheese, grilled cheese and ham, grilled cheese and tomato, or *gasp* the grilled ham, cheese AND tomato. (“All together?! You madmen!”) Celiacs and lactose intolerants beware. There’s also the intriguingly named “Ian’s Funky Sandwich” which I didn’t have the courage to ask for but I imagine it’s served with a side of bass guitar riffs.

There are twenty-four flavours of donuts, which will be whittled down to about four if you pop in really late in the day. I recommend adding a side of chocolate milk from the fridge right beside the donuts. Whether it comes down to a recipe, a technique, or from never replacing the frying oil, there’s something so perfect about these simple treats. And they’re not gigantic either, which is great because then you can try more than one.

Om nom nom nom

Having visited the shop as a child, it’s completely wonderful to see that the seating, layout, menu, decor, and overall palette of unsettling yellow has not changed. It’s like going back in time to the days before donut shops were concerned with looking trendy and being pretentious. They know you want the goods, therefore the glass-front donut display is the first and pretty much only thing you see once you open the door.

The entrance door is directly to the left so it’s like BAM. Donuts.
Extra wide seating to accommodate donut girth.

The shop has existed for over 25 years and during that time has practically become a holy site for Port Alberni. Customers are an eclectic mix of locals and tourists, children and adults, millennials and boomers. If only the rest of the world could follow its model of peace and prosperity through donuts regardless of nationality, race, or creed.

Oh beloved Donut Shop: Never change.