Vehicle registration plates of Ontario

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The province of Ontario first required its residents to register their vehicles and display licence plates in 1903. Along with regular series plates, the province also offers graphic plates and vanity plates with a maximum of 8 digits. Plates are currently issued by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

The symbol of a crown, representing the Crown of Canada, has appeared on almost all Ontario licence plates since 1937, when it was first used to commemorate the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Exceptions include the 1951 plates, and farm series plates issued in the 1980s and '90s. Toronto politician and Orange Order leader Leslie Saunders led protests against a proposal to remove the crown in 1948, a decision the government overturned.[1]

Passenger plates 1950 to present[edit]

In 1956, the U.S. states and Canadian provinces came to an agreement with the Automobile Manufacturers Association that standardized the size for licence plates for vehicles, except those for motorcycles, at six inches in height by twelve inches in width, with standardized mounting holes. The 1955 (dated 1956) issue was the first Ontario licence plate that complied with these standards

All Ontario licence plates issued since 1972 are still valid for display today, provided they have been continuously registered.

Image First issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
LicensePlateOntario1950.jpg 1949 white on black 1950 12A34
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1967 white on blue with embossed crown separator 1968 12-34; 123-456; A12-345; 123-45A 1968-82 - plate expiry was March 31 of following year
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1968 blue on white with embossed crown separator 1969 12-34; 123-456; A12-345; 123-45A
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1969 white on blue with embossed crown separator 1970 123-456; A12-345; 123-45A Some station wagon plates issued in 1X2-345 format
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1970 white on blue with embossed crown separator 1971 123-456; A12-345; 123-45A Some station wagon plates issued in 1X2-345 format
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1971 blue on white with embossed crown separator 1972 123-456; A12-345; 123-45A final single year issue; some station wagon plates issued in 1X2-345 format
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1972 blue on white with embossed crown separator 73 Keep it Beautiful ABC-123 AAA-001 to NKJ-999 first multi-year issue (originally intended for 5 years, but still valid today with current registration)
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1978 blue on white with embossed crown separator Keep it Beautiful ABC-123 NKK-001 to TMA-999 year removed; sticker box does not join border
ON 1982.jpg 1982 blue on white with embossed crown separator Yours to Discover ABC-123 TMB-001 to ZZZ-999 new slogan; sticker box removed; staggered registration (registrant's birthday) introduced 1983
ON 1986.jpg 1986 blue on white with embossed crown separator Yours to Discover 123-ABC (issued in alphabetical order) 001-AAA to 999-VYH serial format changed
Ontario 123 ABC plate.jpg 1994 blue on reflective white with screened crown separator. Crown appears at lower right corner on personalized plates on this and later issues. Yours to Discover 123-ABC 001-VYJ to 999-ZZZ province name, slogan and crown separator now screened; narrower dies to accommodate 7 digits; reflective background
Ont plate Canada.jpg 1997 (English)
2008 (French)
blue on reflective white with screened crown separator Yours to Discover (English)
Tant à Découvrir (French)
ABCD-123 AAAA-001 to present serial format changed

Green vehicle plates 2010 to present[edit]

Image First issued Description Slogan Serial Format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 2010 Green on white with graphic trillium separator Green Vehicle (English)
Véhicule écologique (French)
GVAB 123 (English)
VEAB 123 (French)
GVAA 001 to present (English)
VEAA 001 to present (French)
Issued only to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles

Serial numbers reserved for government officials[edit]

Serial(s) Political Office of Holder(s) Level of Government
CAN-001 Prime Minister of Canada Federal
CAN-002 to CAN-999 Federal Cabinet Ministers Federal
SEN-001 to SEN-999 Members of the Senate Federal
MHC-001 to MHC-999 Members of the House of Commons Federal
FCJ-001 to FCJ-999 Federal Court Judges Federal
FDA-001 to FDZ-999 Federally Owned Vehicles Federal
ONT-001 Premier of Ontario Provincial
ONT-002 to ONT-999 Provincial Cabinet Ministers Provincial
MPP-001 to MPP-999 Members of Provincial Parliament Provincial
SCO-001 to SCO-999 Ontario Superior Court of Justice Provincial
PJO-001 to PJO-999 Ontario Provincial Judges Provincial

Commercial Plates 1980 to present[edit]

Image First issued Description Slogan Serial Format Serials issued Notes
Complate19801995.gif 1980 black on white with embossed crown separator None AB1 234 AA0 001 to YZ9 999 Also used for non-passenger personal vehicles (i.e. pick-up trucks, panel vans)
Ontario screened ab1 234 commercial.jpg 1995 black on reflective white with screened crown separator Yours to Discover AB1 234 ZA0 001 to ZZ9 999 Screened slogan added, frame removed, reflective background, province and crown now screened.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1996 (English)
2008 (French)
black on reflective white with screened crown separator Yours to Discover (English)
Tant à Découvrir (French)
234 1AB 001 0AA to 999 9ZZ Serial format changed.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 2011 black on reflective white with screened crown separator Yours to Discover (English)
Tant à Découvrir (French)
AB 12345 AA 10000 to present Serial format changed.

Non-passenger plates[edit]

Image First issued Description Slogan Serial format Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg 1994 white on reflective red with screened crown separator Yours to Discover 123-CCC Diplomatic Plate
10daypermit.JPG 2004 printed on security paper with barcode 10 Day Temporary Permit/Permis Provisoire de Dix Jours A-123456 temporary use only, placed on dashboard at windshield

General registration licence plates[edit]

In Ontario, motor vehicle dealers licenced under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act use a single portable plate with the word "DEALER" on the left side and red alpha-numeric characters on a white background. It is for exclusive use by motor vehicle dealers only on motor vehicles owned as part of the dealer's inventory of vehicles for sale. It may also be used for private use vehicles that are owned as part of the dealer's inventory of vehicles for sale.

Service providers, including anyone who repairs, customizes, modifies, manufactures or transports motor vehicles or trailers use yellow and black DLR series plates (Dealer and Service Plate).

A service plate may be used:

  • on a trailer or motor vehicle other than a motorcycle or motor-assisted bicycle for purposes related to the repair, road testing, customization or modification of the vehicle, if the vehicle is in the possession of the person to whom the service plate is issued, or
  • for the purpose of transporting the vehicle by a person engaged in the business of transporting vehicles, or
  • for purposes related to the manufacturing or sale of a trailer, or
  • for the purpose of towing the vehicle by a person engaged in the business of transporting vehicles, or
  • to tow a vehicle to a location where its load will be removed or to an impound facility.

Private use of motor vehicles or trailers with a service plate is not permitted.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leslie Howard Saunders. An Orangeman in public life: the memoirs of Leslie Howard Saunders. Britannia Printers, 1980 pg. 97

External links[edit]