Entrepreneur and philanthropist, Ron Joyce, remembered for generosity

February 1, 2019

Ron Joyce, the Nova Scotia native who created a billion-dollar empire with the Canadian staples of Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts, has died. He was 88.

His family said in a statement he died peacefully in his home in Burlington, ON, on Thursday with family at his side.

“My father had a big vision, and a big heart,” his son Steven Joyce said in the statement. “Through hard work, determination and drive, he built one of the most successful restaurant chains in Canada. He never forgot his humble beginnings, with The Joyce Family Foundation donating extensively to support those who are less fortunate, especially children and youth.”

Pictured at a donor recognition event in 2016 are (from left to right): Nancy Handrigan, (’92), Nancy McCain (’82), Libby Burnham (’60), Ron Joyce, Rod Morrison, Hon. Don Oliver (’60)

Ron Joyce was born and raised in Tatamagouche, N.S. His mother, who was widowed at the age of 23, raised Joyce and his two siblings in a home that had no water, no electricity and was heated with a wood-burning stove in the kitchen.

The first Tim Hortons opened in a converted garage in Hamilton in 1964.

In 1992, Joyce was named a member of the Order of Canada for his work with children. Joyce also created The Joyce Family Foundation, which is focused on making education more accessible through scholarships and bursaries.

Whatever you can, help. Giving can be many things. It can be money or just of your time, but all of it is very worthwhile, in my opinion.”

He also donated to several Canadian universities, including Acadia University. It was here in 2016 that The Joyce Family Foundation dramatically increased financial support to visible minorities and students with a proven commitment to volunteerism. With the gift of $2.5 million in endowments, The Joyce Foundation Bursaries and The Clifford and Helena Oliver Bursaries are among the largest renewable awards available to students from Atlantic Canada and Ontario who choose to study at Acadia.

Dr. Rod Morrison, Acadia’s Vice-President, Advancement said Ron Joyce created a legacy of giving back through his gift to Acadia students. “We are grateful for his dedication to helping others, and we send our deepest condolences to his family and associates at The Joyce Family Foundation. He will be missed.”

In a 2016 video interview with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Joyce talked about the value of giving back. He said, “Whatever you can, help. Giving can be many things. It can be money or just of your time, but all of it is very worthwhile, in my opinion.”