Vehicle registration plates of the Northwest Territories

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The Canadian territory of Northwest Territories first required its residents to register their motor vehicles and display licence plates in 1941.

In 1970, to celebrate the centennial of the territory, a unique polar bear-shaped plate was introduced. The basic bear shape has been retained ever since, and the plate is now a registered trademark of the Government of the Northwest Territories.[1]

Influence on Nunavut plate design[edit]

In April 1999, the territory of Nunavut was created from the eastern part of the Northwest Territories. The new territory adopted a virtually identical bear-shaped licence plate, following an agreement between the governments of the two territories. In 2011, the Government of Nunavut decided to discontinue the bear shape and replace it with a conventional rectangular design, which was introduced in July 2012.

Passenger plates 1947 to present[edit]

In 1956, Canada, the United States and Mexico came to an agreement with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Automobile Manufacturers Association and the National Safety Council that standardized the size for licence plates for vehicles (except those for motorcycles) at 6 inches (15 cm) in height by 12 inches (30 cm) in width, with standardized mounting holes.[2] The first Northwest Territories licence plate that complied with these standards was issued five years beforehand, in 1951. The current bear-shaped plates feature the standard mounting holes.

Image First issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1947 Black on silver none 123 1 to approximately 400
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1948 White on blue none 123 1 to approximately 600
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1949 White on green none 123 1 to approximately 500
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1950 Black on orange none 1234 651 to approximately 1350
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1951 Orange on black none 1234 1351 to approximately 2100 First 6" x 12" plate.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1952 White on blue none 123 100 to approximately 650
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1953 Black on orange none 123 100 to approximately 800
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1954 Orange on black Canada's Northland 123 100 to approximately 900
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1955 Black on orange Canada's Northland 123 100 to approximately 900
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1956 Orange on black Canada's Northland 1234 100 to approximately 1100
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1957 Black on orange Canada's Northland 1234 100 to approximately 1400
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1958 Orange on black Canada's Northland 1234 100 to approximately 2200
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1959 Black on orange Canada's Northland 1234 100 to approximately 2300
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1960 Orange on black Canada's Northland 1234 100 to approximately 2400
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1961 Black on orange Canada's Northland 1234 100 to approximately 3100
Canada Northwest Territories license plate 1962.jpg 1962 Orange on black Canada's Northland 1234 100 to approximately 4000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1963 Black on orange Canada's Northland 1234 100 to approximately 3900
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1964 Orange on black Canada's Northland 1234 100 to approximately 4200
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1965 White on light green Canada's Northland 1-234 100 to approximately 4-900
Northwest Territories Licence Plate 1966.jpg 1966 Black on reflective orange; territorial shield at left Canada's Northland 12-345 100 to approximately 11-500 Revalidated for 1967 with white-on-blue tabs, for 1968 with red-on-white tabs, and for 1969 with green-on-white tabs.
Northwest Territories 1970 license plate.jpg 1970 Bear-shaped; white on blue Centennial 1-234 1 to approximately 7-500 First bear-shaped plate. Awarded inaugural "Plate of the Year" for best new licence plate of 1970 by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association.
Northwest Territories Licence Plate 1971 bear design.jpg 1971 Bear-shaped; blue on white none 1-234 1 to approximately 8-500
Northwest Territories Licence Plate 1972 bear design.jpg 1972 Bear-shaped; white on blue none 12-345 1 to approximately 10-500
Northwest Territories Licence Plate 1973 bear design.jpg 1973 Bear-shaped; dark blue on white with yellow slogan, date, and border RCMP Centennial 12-345 1 to approximately 11-000
Northwest Territories Licence Plate 1974 bear design.jpg 1974 Bear-shaped; red on white none 12-345 1 to approximately 11-500
Northwest Territories Licence Plate 1975 bear design.jpg 1975 Bear-shaped; turquoise on white none 12-345 1 to approximately 18-000 Revalidated for 1976 with stickers.
Northwest Territories Licence Plate 1977 bear design.jpg 1977 Bear-shaped; red on white none 12-345 1 to approximately 21-500 Revalidated for 1978 with stickers.
Northwest Territories Licence Plate 1979 bear design.jpg 1979 Bear-shaped; turquoise on white none 12-345 1 to approximately 21-500 Revalidated for 1980 with stickers.
Northwest Territories Licence Plate 1981 bear design.jpg 1981 Bear-shaped; red on white none 12-345 1 to approximately 21-000 Revalidated for 1982 with stickers.
Northwest Territories Licence Plate 1983 bear design.jpg 1983 Bear-shaped; blue on white none 12-345 1 to approximately 30-500 Last dated plate. Revalidated for 1984 and 1985 with stickers.
1986 Northwest Territories license plate 125419.jpg 1986 Bear-shaped; blue on white Explore Canada's Arctic 123456 1 to approximately 126000 Monthly staggered registration introduced 1990.
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 2010 Bear-shaped; nature scene Spectacular 123456 300000 to 351000 (as of July 6, 2017)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nunavut polar bear (license plate) on verge of extinction". APTN. August 5, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  2. ^ Garrish, Christopher (October 2016). "Reconsidering the Standard Plate Size". Plates. Vol. 62 no. 5. Automobile License Plate Collectors Association.

External links[edit]