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The 10 Largest Franchises that Originated in Canada

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Last week we showed you the 10 largest franchises operating in Canada, and that list contained mostly US-based franchises. But what about franchises that originated in Canada? Well, a lot have found tremendous success franchising both in Canada and outside of the country, amounting to hundreds and thousands of franchised units internationally. Many have gone just across the border to the United States, but others have branched out across oceans to expand their brand to foreign markets.

Here are the most successful franchises, by number of units, that Canada can call its own:

1. Tim Hortons – 4,740 units worldwide

Headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, the coffee and donut franchise can be found in the United Arab Emirates, Southeast Asia, and the United States. Each year, the franchise serves more than 2 billion cups of coffee, and 8 out of every 10 cups of coffee sold in Canada are Tim Hortons brews.

2. Liberty Tax Service – 4,400 units in North America

When a non-compete clause from a previous business prevented Jackson Hewitt from operating an income tax preparation business in the United States, he set up shop in Canada, opening the first Liberty Tax Service in 1997. The franchise has over 4,400 offices in North America, and 270 of those are located in Canada.

3. Yogen Früz – 1,400 units worldwide

Yogen Früz opened in 1986 in Toronto as a revolutionary frozen yogurt concept. This small store offered customers a health experience unlike any other, and today that small store has grown to 1,400 locations in 47 countries and has been ranked on of Entrepreneur’s Top 500 Global Franchises for over 20 years.

4. Coffee News – 839 units worldwide

Coffee News was started in 1988 as a free weekly publication that is distributed in restaurants, coffee shops, and hotels, giving patrons something to read while they wait. This turned into one of the world’s most successful business ideas, and today the newspapers are distributed in over 15 countries.

5. Pizza Pizza – 752 units in Canada

Pizza Pizza has been a Canadian leader in the pizza industry since 1967 with a network that employs over 3,000 Canadians from coast to coast. This franchise fulfills an estimated 28 million orders yearly and sponsors hundreds of community initiatives throughout Canada.

6. Pet Valu – 770 units in North America

Started in Toronto in 1976 and franchising since 1987, Pet Valu prides themselves on being the Pet Experts of North America. The Pet Valu family of stores makes up one of the largest pet retail operations in North America.

7. Pita Pit – 611 units worldwide

When Pita Pit’s first location was opened in 1995, the owners wanted to help create provide people with food that is both healthy and delicious in a fast casual environment. They began franchising in 1997 and expanded into the US in 1999. Now the healthy, fast casual Lebanese-style pita concept is available in 11 countries.

8. Pillar to Post Home Inspectors – 550 units in North America

An Ontario native created this franchise in 1993 after purchasing a new home and receiving an unsatisfactory home inspection report that left him with more questions than answers. He started Pillar to Post Home Inspections to bring standards to the industry, and the business began franchising in both Canada and the US in 1994.

9. Country Style – 500 units in Canada

This coffee rival to Tim Hortons has been around for 50 years and features over 50 varieties of freshly baked donuts. Country Style’s wide range of restaurant concepts can be found in Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and Western Canada.

10. Canadian Tire Retail – 487 units in Canada

Canadian Tire offers a mix of products and services in the automotive parts, accessories and services; sports and leisure products; and home products sectors. With stores from coast to coast, this franchise sells more products in more locations than any other Canadian retailer.

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