Tim Hortons' 'Nova Scotia Strong' donut raises over $1.4 million

Tim Hortons ‘Nova Scotia Strong’ donuts raised more than $1.4 million across Canada to support those affected by last month’s mass shooting in Nova Scotia. (CNW Group/Tim Hortons)

Tim Hortons says sales of its "Nova Scotia Strong" donuts have raised more than $1.4 million across Canada to support those affected by last month’s mass shooting in Nova Scotia.

In a news release Thursday, Tim Hortons said its Debert, N.S., restaurant sold more than 4,400 donuts -- the most of any of the 1,500 participating restaurants across Canada.

"We knew this campaign would resonate with our local community but we were still blown away by the response," said restaurant owner Quinn MacKenzie. "And it was really amazing to see how the rest of the country all got behind us to support this cause. We're truly grateful."

The tragedy struck Debert directly as two of the 22 victims -- Heather O’Brien and Kristen Beaton -- were killed in the area. RCMP say the man responsible for the rampage also spent the night in Debert.

Debert is also home to a Tim Hortons distribution centre that employs many residents in the region.

Officially launched last week, 100 per cent of the proceeds of each Nova Scotia Strong Donut sold went directly to the Canadian Red Cross Strong Together Nova Scotia Fund, which is working to provide support to the individuals, families and communities impacted by the mass shooting with immediate and long-term needs.

"This contribution from Tim Hortons to the Stronger Together Nova Scotia Fund is a direct reflection of the heartfelt support from Canadians across the country," said Conrad Sauvé, president and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. "All of the funds raised will help to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the people deeply affected by this tragedy."

Tim Hortons says the campaign was bolstered by the support of NHL stars and Nova Scotia natives Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon.

“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who bought a Nova Scotia Strong doughnut at Tim Hortons this past week,” Crosby said in a statement. “With your support, we were able to raise over $1.4 million that will go to support those who were impacted by this terrible tragedy. Thank you for stepping up and coming together during this tough time.”

Tim Hortons says, in order to begin fundraising as soon as possible, it made the unconventional decision to forgo a standardized design for the Nova Scotia Strong Donut and encouraged owners to use their creativity and create a design with the ingredients they had available. The result was a wide array of creative designs at restaurants across the country.

(With files from CTV Atlantic's Allan April)