Our History

The first McDonald's storefront and sign with arches

Our History

Since 1955, we've proudly served the world some of its favourite food. It's been an exciting journey, and we're just getting started. 

The Ray Kroc Story

In 1954, at the age of 52, Ray Kroc invested his life savings to become the exclusive distributor of a milk shake maker called the Multimixer. He discovered the McDonald's® hamburger stand in California, owned by Dick & Mac McDonald, was running eight Multimixers at a time, so he packed up and headed west to investigate.

Ray Kroc had never seen so many people served so quickly, and was impressed with the way the limited menu allowed a focus on quality at every step. Inspired, he pitched the idea of opening several restaurants to the McDonald brothers, convinced he could sell eight of his Multimixers to each and every one. When they asked who would open them, Kroc said, "What about me?"

Consistency, Quality and Success

Ray Kroc opened the Des Plaines, Illinois restaurant in 1955, and with the first Golden Arches, launched a legendary brand. He saw the value of a restaurant system that could be famous for offering consistently prepared, quality food that tasted the same in every location, every time. In 1958, McDonald’s sold its 100 millionth burger.

By 1965, with 700 restaurants, McDonald’s went public with the company’s first offering on the stock exchange. Ray Kroc didn’t do it alone. He believed, “In business for yourself, but not by yourself.” To achieve his vision, he chose a unique path – to persuade franchisees and suppliers to join him in working for themselves, together with McDonald's. As a result, in 1967, the first McDonald’s restaurant outside the U.S. opened its doors in Richmond, British Columbia.

McDonald’s Canada

Today, 2.5 million guests visit our restaurants across Canada every day. With its Canadian franchisees, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited owns and operates more than 1,400 restaurants and employs more than 90,000 Canadians coast-to-coast.

Approximately 85% of McDonald’s Canadian restaurants are locally owned and operated by independent entrepreneurs in communities from coast to coast.

The Canadian Numbers

McDonald’s Canada is lucky to be part of the lives of millions of Canadians in communities across the country, helping to build a strong workforce, business partnerships and local economies.

  • When both direct and indirect employment impacts are taken together, McDonald’s Canada creates more than 200,000 jobs, generating almost $4.5 billion in local annual economic activity
  • We are the largest buyer of ground beef in the Canadian restaurant industry with annual purchases of more than 67 million pounds
  • We contribute approximately $75 million in payroll taxes and benefits and $34 million in business taxes nationally
  • Overall, McDonald’s Canada creates more than $610 million annually in taxes through the generation of new jobs and additional purchases of goods and services from other Canadian businesses
  • Through our $1.5 billion annual expenditures on energy, maintenance, landscaping, operating supplies, wages and benefits, we inject approximately $4.2 million into local Canadian economies every day and $130 million in corporate income taxes annually
Several people ordering food at the first McDonald's storefront
A modern exterior of a McDonald's storefront with arches symbol
A retro McDonald's signage with arches in front of a McDonald's restaurant

McDonald's Milestones


McDonald’s milestones are many – from the 1968 debut of the Big Mac® sandwich to the Egg McMuffin® sandwich in 1976 – and achievements continue to this day. Here are the Canadian milestones:


  • 1967 – The first McDonald’s restaurant outside the United States opens in Richmond, British Columbia
  • 1968 – The first Eastern Canada McDonald’s opens in London, Ontario


  • 1970 – McDonald’s 50th Canadian restaurant opens in Dieppe, New Brunswick
  • 1976 – Introduction of the McDonald’s Canada breakfast menu


  • 1981 – The first Ronald McDonald House® opens in Toronto
  • 1987 – McDonald’s guests raise $1.5 million for Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour
A chocolate and strawberry McFlurry dessert
A McDonald's McGriddle breakfast sandwich with bacon, egg and cheese
A McCafé Coffee cup surrounded by coffee beans



  • 1990 – McDonald’s Canada opens the first McDonald’s restaurant in the Soviet Union
  • 1995 – The McFlurry® is first served in the town of Bathurst, New Brunswick


  • 2003 – The McGriddles® breakfast sandwich is introduced
  • 2008 – McDonald's Canada transitions to a trans-fat-free Canola Oil Blend cooking oil


  • 2011 – Launch of McCafé® espresso-based coffee drinks
  • 2015 – McDonald’s Canada announces transition to cage-free eggs by 2025

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