“It was all good intentions, I understand. Nobody was out to hurt anybody,” John Rathwell said Thursday.
The doughnuts, with petals made from red sprinkles surrounding a circle of what appears to be jelly, caused a social media stir after an image of them was posted on the popular Calgary Twitter account Crackmacs.
“How incredibly insensitive and short-sighted,” one Twitter user responded.
Others chimed in to say the move did not sit well and it was not appropriate to cash in on Remembrance Day.
Rathwell said he would have preferred it if the business had reached out to his group before Remembrance Day about partnering to raise funds for veterans.
“The poppy symbol is a registered trademark and permission should be asked,” he said, noting many consider the symbol sacred.
“But at the same time, I thought somebody taking that initiative during this time of remembrance is an admirable thing.”
The southeast Calgary Tim Hortons franchise where the doughnuts were sold declined to comment.
“As a proud Canadian brand, we have the utmost respect and honour for our veterans,” the chain’s head office said in a statement.
“The restaurant owner, who independently owns and operates this restaurant in Calgary, will be matching and donating 100 per cent of the poppy donut proceeds to the Royal Canadian Legion.”