Timeline: 50 years of McDonald’s in Canada


TORONTO – The first McDonald’s in Canada opened its doors nearly 50 years ago. Now, there are more than 1,400 of its restaurants in all 10 provinces and two territories (Nunavut being the exception).

Here’s a look at some significant moments in the company’s history in Canada:

1967: George Tidball opens the first McDonald’s outside America in Richmond, B.C., at the intersection of Granville Avenue and No. 3 Road. In 1971, Tidball opened another restaurant called the Keg and Cleaver, now known as the Keg Steakhouse + Bar.

1968: The Big Mac makes its debut.

1971: Ownership of all McDonald’s restaurants in the country is reorganized under McDonald’s Canada.

1976: The company introduces its breakfast menu. The first offerings included the Egg McMuffin, Sausage McMuffin, hotcakes, hash browns and a danish.

1981: The company opens its first Ronald McDonald House in Toronto. Today, there are 15 Ronald McDonald Houses in Canada, offering the families a place to stay close to the hospital where their children are being treated.

1984: Chicken McNuggets first appear on the menu.

1992: McDonald’s starts selling the McPizza. In January 2000, the McPizza is pulled from the menu because it takes too much time to make. CEO John Betts says the company will “probably not” ever bring it back.

1995: The first PlayPlace opens in Niagara Falls, Ont. There are now 363 PlayPlaces in Canada. That same year, the company serves its first McFlurry in Bathurst, N.B., where it was created by franchisee Ron McLellan. The desert is launched across Canada in 1997.

1996: The company attempts to appeal to grown-up taste buds with the Arch Deluxe burger, but it fails to resonate and disappears by February 1999.

2000: The McValue menu is unveiled, offering lower prices on some items each day of the week.

2004: For a limited time, adults can buy a grown-up version of the Happy Meal that comes with water, salad and a stepometer.

2008: Following the Arch Deluxe flop, McDonald’s finds success with its newly released Angus Burger, which remains on the menu today. The company also begins overhauling its restaurants, remodelling its kitchens and drive-thrus.

2013: McDonald’s recreates a classic Canadian dish, launching poutine nationwide.

2015: McDonald’s rolls out several new food items for a limited time across the country, including the Western BBQ burger, a Nanaimo crumble sundae and the McLobster, a staple of its restaurants in Atlantic Canada. It also launches three new salads featuring kale, despite slamming the nutrient-rich vegetable in an American ad.

2016: In an effort to boost its lunch business, McDonald’s releases The 12 — a sandwich literally named after lunchtime. It comes with grilled or crispy chicken breast, applewood smoke seasoned sauce and other toppings on a sesame and poppy seed glazed bun.