On January 18, 2017, the provincial government released the designs for a trio of new specialty license plates promoting provincial parks and protected areas (to go on sale January 29, 2017) at a launching ceremony held at Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver.
Costing $50 with an annual renewal fee of $40, sales of the plates are to be re-invested back into provincial parks through a newly created "Parks Endowment Fund", which had previously been announced by the Premier in November of 2016.
The announcement completed the promise made by the Premier to introduce a specialty license plate as a way for motorists to show their support for the parks system and as a funding mechanism for the BC Parks "Future Strategy" and is the first un-restricted specialty plate since the Winter Games (i.e. Olympic) base issued in 2007.
At top (from left to right), Barry Penner (ICBC Chairman), Todd Stone (Minister of Transportation), Mary Polak (Minister of Environment) and someone we don't know at far right at the unveiling of the new BC Parks plates at Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver on January 18, 2017.
At right, Todd Stone and Mary Polak formally unveiling
the designs of the new BC Parks plates.
Over 5,000 Plates Sold - February 22, 2017
On February 22, 2017, ICBC announced what we are hoping is going to be the first of many milestones in the sales of the BC Parks plates, which was the issuance of 5,000 plates. In a sign of the times, they chose to make the announcement via Twitter:
In response, we here at BCpl8s.ca took to Twitter for the first time in order to inquire as to how many of each design had been sold. Happily, the tweeter at ICBC responded with the following break-down (image at top-right): Kermode Bear - 2,328; Purcell Mountains - 1,744 and Porteau Cove - 1,320.
Over 10,000 Plates Sold - March 19, 2017
On March 19, 2017, the provincial government announced 10,000 of the BC Parks plates, have now been sold:
Over 37,000 Plates Sold - June 28, 2017
On June 28, 2017, the ICBC announced 37,000 of the BC Parks plates, have now been sold, passing a milestone the Corporation had not expected to reach until 2022. The Keremode Bear design remains the most popular with approx. 14,600 (39.6%) sold, followed by the Purcell Mountains at 12,000 (32.5%) and Porteau Cove at 10,300 (27.9%). This has resulted in approx. $500,000 being raised for the Park Enhancement Fund.
Over 86,000 Plates Sold - April 3, 2018
The province used the announcement of a a new BC Parks "Student Ranger Program" to reveal that approximately 86,000 BC Parks license plates have now been sold, raising $610,000, which is being put towards the hiring of 48 young adults to work in BC's parks to "protect sensitive ecosystems, while preserving the natural, cultural and historical values".
In the official press release (which we have archived HERE), Nicolas Jimenez, interim president and CEO of ICBC, announced that “as the first type of specialty licence plate of its kind, we are proud that, due to the fervent support of British Columbians, the BC Parks plates program has, and will continue to, provide opportunities like this to enhance, protect and conserve our parks and land.”
While 86,000 is almost walfway to the total number of Olpympic plates sold (which only had one design to offer motorists), our Chief Statistican at BCpl8s.ca has calculated that the number of plates distributed to brokers versus number of plates actually sold is gradually increasing - meaning sales may be slowing.
The early popularity of the Kermode Bear design may also soon be eclipsed by the Purcell Mountains design (possibly by this fall).
100,000 Plates Sold - June 25, 2018
What does the sale of 100,000 BC Parks plates actually mean? $2.3 million toward protecting and preserving provincial parks through a range of programs such as the Student Ranger Program and habitat conservation.
Apart from the usual news release verbage, the more interesting information for us here at BCpl8s.ca was the official stats about how many of each design have been sold.
At the moment, the Kermode bear design has been the most popular with 36,936 plates sold but is slowly surrending its lead, and will probably be passed later this year by the second most popular design of the Purcell Mountains, which currently sits at 35,030 sales. Rounding at the top three (which is a nice way of saying the least popular design) is Porteau Cove, with 29,102 sales.
To keep the plates moving, ICBC also announced that, starting in summer of 2018, customers with a fleet insurance policy will be able to
purchase plates for all their fleet vehicles.
Another interesting aspect of the event was the presentation of the "100,000" BC Parks license plate to an electric vehicle promoting "Clean Energy for BC" (top-left & bottom-right). We found this very odd as ICBC is quite clear that it will not issue "numerals only - such as "962-221", "1426", "645-354"" when someone is applying for a Personalised plate.
We have always thought this was because of the Utility Trailer base using an all numeric registration between 1-999999 from 1986 to 2001, not to mention the Antique vehicle plates doubling up on some of these same numbers between 1 to 10,000.
In case anyone had forgotten, former Transportation Minister, Todd Stone (he of Kermode Bear plate No. PA0-01A) tweeted out shortly after the announcement to remind everyone of the former Liberal government's role in creating the BC Parks plates.
To mark the 2nd anniversary of the launch of the Parks plates on January 29, 2017, ICBC put out a tweet, which also mentioned that 130,000 plates had now been issued.
ICBC subsequently confirmed that the total is actually 132,533, with the Bear still being the most popular by a noce at 46,834, followed closely by the Purcell design at 46,816, and the Porteau design bringing up the rear at 38,883.
Our in-house Statistical Department here at BCpl8s.ca alerted us to the fact that these numbers likely mean ICBC has had to distribute more than 167,000 sets of BC Parks plates to meet demand at individual Autoplan Agents and that this number is higher than the number of Olympic plates that were made.
Over 182,000 Plates Sold - January 29, 2020
Happy 3rd Anniversary to our BC Parks Plate program! With over 180,000 plates sold, the love British Columbians have for their parks is undeniable. We’re proud to celebrate this milestone with nature lovers and #BCParks! pic.twitter.com/gyclDuCZmI
To mark the 3rd anniversary of the launch of the Parks plates on January 29, 2017, ICBC put out a tweet celebrating that approximately 182,000 plates had now been issued.
ICBC subsequently confirmed that the total is actually 182,425, with the Purcell design at 65,448 having dethroned the Kermode Bear, which is now at 61,868, and the Porteau design bringing up the rear at 55,109.
The trend line on these sales confirmed what we saw at this same time in 2019; that the Bear was trending down, the Purcells had plateaued while the Porteau base seems to be gaining in popularity as the years go by..