The Andrew Turnbull Network

License Plate Gallery

The Ontario Project

Motor Vehicle Business

Dealerships are issued eye-catching red, black, and white plates for use when moving or demonstrating vehicles. Service facilities are issued black-on-yellow plates, as did dealerships prior to 2004. Both types have been tough to capture, since I usually only see them on vehicles while they're on the move. I guess better pictures will have to be forthcoming...

[Ontario D]

Dealer & Service (Collection)

[Ontario D]

Dealer

[Ontario D]

Service

Commercial Truck

Commercial vehicles in Ontario are issued distinct plates in a rather blah, black-on-white colour scheme. No slogan appeared until the advent of reflectorized plates in 1994. Certain blocks of letters are reserved for buses and farm vehicles (shown below), and the main series was expanded to seven digits in 2011.

Unlike many other provinces and states that require truck plates only in certain use cases or above a certain weight threshold, truck plates in Ontario are issued to all trucks...including light pickups and cargo vans. Some light trucks carry an orange sticker with the words "Used primarily for personal transportation;" however, the use of these is inconsistent.

[Ontario C truck]

(Collection)

[Ontario C truck]

From the original allocation in 1980.

[Ontario K truck]

[Ontario C truck]

(Collection)

[Ontario T truck]

[Ontario X truck]

[Ontario Z truck]

[Ontario A truck]

Collection...and a great number!

[Ontario E truck]

[Ontario K truck]

[Ontario L truck]

[Ontario M truck]

[Ontario R truck]

[Ontario T truck]

[Ontario V truck]

[Ontario W truck]

[Ontario X truck]

[Ontario Y truck]

[Ontario Z truck]

[Ontario AA truck]

[Ontario AB truck]

[Ontario AC truck]

[Ontario AF truck]

[Ontario AJ truck]

[Ontario AK truck]

[Ontario AL truck]

[Ontario AM truck]

[Ontario AP truck]

[Ontario AS truck]

[Ontario AT truck]

As of late 2017, Ontario is issuing truck plates in the "AT" series...which also happen to be my initials. I take this as a good omen.

Other Commercial Types

Buses are issued plates in the "B" series, while farm trucks are issued vertically-captioned plates in the "F" series. Also falling into this realm are plates for school buses ("S" series), apportioned trucks ("P" series), and apportioned buses ("BP" series). School bus plates are not mandatory; many operators instead choose to register their vehicles with regular bus plates to allow for expanded use.

[Ontario bus]

Bus

[Ontario bus]

[Ontario bus]

[Ontario bus]

[Ontario bus]

[Ontario farm]

Farm (Collection)

[Ontario farm]

[Ontario farm]

[Ontario farm]

[Ontario farm]

[Ontario farm]

[Ontario farm]

[Ontario PRP apportioned]

Apportioned (PRP)

[Ontario school bus]

School bus

Trailer

Trailer plates are blue on white (like passenger plates), and are permanent: No stickers or means of revalidation are used. Consequently these plates transfer with the vehicle, not the owner, which saps away the potential for ancient plates to appear on shiny new trailers: Nearly all the plates I've seen of this type have been in the "bookend" A00-00A format, which started in 2002.

Ontario in the 1980s used trailer plates as a vehicle to experiment with reflectorization, and also had some plates manufactured in Quebec. Some of these may still be in use, but they're few and far between.

[Ontario H trailer]

Made in Quebec (Collection)

[Ontario M trailer]

(Collection)

[Ontario A trailer]

[Ontario C trailer]

[Ontario D trailer]

[Ontario E trailer]

[Ontario J trailer]

[Ontario L trailer]

[Ontario N trailer]

[Ontario P trailer]

Motorcycle and Moped

Motorcycles have been issued small blue-on-white plates in a variety of formats over the years, such as 00000, A0000, 000AA, AA000, 0A000, 000A0, and 0000A. The current format is the convoluted, mind-twisting, and completely-unmemorizable "0A0A0" configuration, which started in 2013. Why the MTO did this is anyone's guess.

[Ontario O motorcycle]

(Collection)

[Ontario K motorcycle]

AA000 format (1991-97)

[Ontario T motorcycle]

0A000 format (1997-2003)

[Ontario Z motorcycle]

000A0 format (2003-08)

[Ontario F motorcycle]

0000A format (2008-13)

[Ontario L motorcycle]

[Ontario T motorcycle]

[Ontario Y motorcycle]

[Ontario C motorcycle]

0A0A0 format (2013-present)

[Ontario D motorcycle]

[Ontario E motorcycle]

[Ontario F motorcycle]

[Ontario H motorcycle]

[Ontario J motorcycle]

[Ontario K motorcycle]

Ontario issues special plates for mopeds but restricts them to literal motor-assisted bicycles with engine sizes of 50cc of less; as a consequence, these cherry-red plates are very rare. Low-speed motorcycle is a more recent class, covering most of the motor scooters and such that don't fit into the motorcycle or moped categories.

[Ontario E moped]

(Collection)

[Ontario A low speed motorcycle]

Low-speed motorcycle

This particular plate offered up an avalanche of confusion. At first glance, it appeared to be a regular sequential number in the AA000 format of 1991 to 1997. But there was a catch: Motorcycles only used the F through L portion of the format, while the M series was reserved for rare (and possibly mythical) off-road vehicle dealer plates:

[Ontario M motorcycle]

What gives? Did the MTO backfill the M series as motorcycle at some point? I asked Joe Sallmen, who took one look at the picture and gave a matter-of-fact reply: "It's a vanity. MX stands for motocross; 828 is their competition number." So there you go!

Although the physical constraints of motorcycle plates sap away the practicality of special-issue graphic designs, a veterans' motorcycle plate is available nevertheless:

[Ontario veteran motorcycle]


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Last update 20 November 2017.