British Columbia Motorcycle License Plates

1904 - 1912: Pre-Provincial
   
Issuing Statistics
1904-1912:
unknown

*  
There is a question as to the origin of the plate shown at left and whether it is, in deed, from BC.  Nevertheless, it is considered to be a good example of a Pre-Provincial motorcycle plate.  

1912: Hand Painted Numbers
Shown above is yet another great photo from the City of Vancouver Archives that was uncovered by Pierre Delacote. The purpose of the photo - as conveyed by its title - was to capture the construction of a new building for Birks (a Canadian jewelery store) in November of 1912. At the bottom right of the photo, however is an Excelsior motorcycle that has been backed up against the curb. Upon closer examination it is possible to discern the registeration number of the motorcycle: No. 4633, which has been hand painted onto the rear fender!

Thanks to the Register of Motor Vehicles that was maintained by the Provincial Police during this period, we know that the No. 4633 was issued to the Excelsior Supply Store on 572 Richards Street in Vancouver on October 2, 1912 (Click Here). The number would subsequently be re-assigned on February 19, 1913, which leads us to wonder what happened to this particular motorcycle?

Irrespective of the fate of the Excelsior, it is known that the use of painted numbers on the fenders of motorcycles occurred in other jurisdictions, such as Washington State. The image at left shows just such an example with the No. 3969 as well as an identifying "WN" (for Washington State) painted on the fender of a 1912 Excelsior, which now resides in the Vancouver area.


1913 - 1914: Porcelain
Jon Ilnytzky Collection
Dave Hollins Collection
Issuing Statistics
1913:
unknown
1914:
unknown
Jon Ilnytzky Collection
Dave Hollins Collection
   

Not something you see very often, but the following is an excellent example of a 1914 motorcycle plate (usually, the angle is profile and it is not possible to see the plate):

1915 - 1917: Tin
Eric Taylor Collection
Dave Hollins Collection
Issuing Statistics
1915:
unknown
1916:
unknown
1917:
unknown
Dave Hollins Collection
 
Pierre Delacote Collection
Bill Hobbis Collection
Dave Hollins Collection
 

1915 BC License Plate Manufacturer
In case you were wondering who manufactured the 1915 license plates for British Columbia (passenger & motorcycle), this picture of the back of the No. 1330 plate above gives a fairly good clue - the MacDonald Manufacturing Company Limited of Toronto.

1918 - 1922
Bill Hobbis Collection
Issuing Statistics
1918:
unknown
1919:
unknown
1920:
unknown
1921:
unknown
1922:
unknown
1922
"As rare as they come"! In this photo taken in front of the Fred Deely "The Cycle Man" shop at 563 West Broadway in Vancouver can be seen a couple of motorsysles sporting 1926 license plates (i.e. No. 946 & 963).

1923 - 1948
Issuing Statistics
1923:
1 to 1-500
1924:
1 to 1-500
1925:
unknown
1926:
1 to 1-500
1927:
unknown
1928:
1 to 1-500
1929:
unknown
1930:
unknown
1931:
unknown
1932:
unknown
1933:
unknown
1934:
unknown
1935:
unknown
1936:
unknown
1937:
unknown
1938:
unknown
1939:
1 to 2-300
1940:
1 to 2-250
1941:
1 to 2-350
1942:
1 to 2-400
1943:
1 to 2-250
1944:
1 to 2-250
1945:
1 to 2-250
1946:
1 to 2-550
1947:
1 to 3-490
1948:
1 to 4-500
Bill Hobbis Collection

Dave Hollins Collection
Dave Hollins Collection
Dave Hollins Collection
Dave Hollins Collection
Ron Garay Collection
   

City of Vancouver Archives
Hidden in a place you would not normally expect to find license plates, albeit municipal issues, are two uber-rare motorcycle plates. Unfortunately, the detail on the photo is such that it is not clear which municipality issued these plates, but we are assuming that it was Vancouver with one of the plates being 1930 and the other 1931.

1949
1-digit
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1949:
1 to 5-000
1950
1-digit
2-digit
Dave Hollins Collection
4-digit
Issuing Statistics
1950:
1 to 5-000
1951
1-digit
Dave Hollins Collection
4-digit
Issuing Statistics
1951:
1 to 5-000
1952
1-digit
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1952:
1 to 5-000
1953
1-digit
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1953:
1 to 5-000
1954
1-digit
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1954:
1 to 5-000
1955
1-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1955:
1 to 5-000
1956
1-digit
2-digit
3-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1956:
unknown
1957
1-digit
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1957:
unknown
1958
1-digit
3-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1958:
unknown
1959
1-digit
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1959:
unknown
1960
1-digit
2-digit
3-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1960:
unknown
1961
1-digit
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
4-digit
Issuing Statistics
1961:
unknown
1962
1-digit
3-digit
Issuing Statistics
1962:
unknown
1963
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1963:
unknown
1964
1-digit
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1964:
1 to 6-400

1965
2-digit
3-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1965:
1 to 11-500
1966
1-digit
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1966:
1 to 15-000
1967
1-digit
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1967:
1 to 20-000
1968
1-digit
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
3-digit
Issuing Statistics
1968:
1 to 22-000
Victoria Police Plates
When these plates emerged in late 2021, they were described as having been issued to the Victoria Police Department for use on their motorcycles.
1969
1-digit
2-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1969:
1 to 26-000
1970
1-digit
2-digit
3-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1970:
1 to 27-500
1971
1-digit
2-digit
3-digit
Ron Garay Collection
Issuing Statistics
1971:
1 to 31-000

1972
Issuing Statistics
1972:
100-001 to 138-000
1973
Issuing Statistics
1973:
100-001 to 140-000

1974 - 1978
Issuing Statistics
1974:
100-001 to 147-300
1975:
95-001 to 99-999*
1976:
N00-001 to N30-000
1977:
N30-001 to N50-000
1978:
N50-001 to N60-000
Ron Garay Collection
Ron Garay Collection
1974 - Initial "Motor Vehicle Branch Allotment"
Abbotsford
(100,000 to 100,500)
Alberni
(100,501 to 100,800)
Ashcroft
(100,801 to 100,950)
Atlin
(100,951 to 101,000)
Burnaby
(101,001 to 101,900)
Issuing Statistics
Series:

101-100 to 147-300

Registered:
uknown
Issued:
Singles
Manufacturer:
Oakalla Prison
Dimensions:
XX mm x XX mm
(XX inch x XX inch)
Material:
Metal
Comments:
* Estimate / Unconfirmed

Burns Lake
(101,901 to 102,000)
Campbell River
(102,001 to 102,300)
Chilliwack
(102,301 to 102,800)
Clinton
(102,801 to 102,825)
Cloverdale
(102,826 to 103,400)
Courtenay
(103,401 to 103,900)
Cranbrook
(103,901 to 104,200)
Creston
(104,201 to 104,300)
Dawson Creek
(104,301 to 104,600)
Dunacn
(104,601 to 105,100)
Fernie
(105,101 to 105,300)
Fort Nelson
(105,301 to 105,400)
Fort St. John
(105,401 to 105,600)
Ganges
(105,601 to 105,700)
Golden
(105,701 to 105,900)
Grand Forks
(105,901 to 106,100)
Haney
(106,101 to 106,500)
Invermere
(106,501 to 106,600)
Kamloops
(106,601 to 107,300)
Kaslo
(107,301 to 107,350)
Kelowna
(107,351 to 107,900)
Kitimat
(107,901 to 108,000)
Lillooet
(108,001 to 108,100)
Merritt
(108,101 to 108,300)
Mission
(108,301 to 108,500)
Nanaimo
(108,501 to 109,100)
Nelson
(109,001 to 109,400)
New Westminster
(109,401 to 110,400)

North Vancouver
(110,401 to 111,400)
Oliver
(111,401 to 111,550)
100 Mile House
(111,551 to 111,700)
Penticton
(111,701 to 112,100)
Port Hardy
(112,101 to 112,200)
Pouce Coupe
(112,201 to 112,225)
Powell River
(112,226 to 112,400)
Prince George
(112,401 to 112,900)
Prince Ruppert
(112,901 to 113,100)
Princeton
(113,101 to 113,150)
Queen Charlotte City
(113,151 to 113,300)
Quesnel
(113,301 to 113,500)
Revelstoke
(113,501 to 113,700)
Richmond
(113,701 to 114,200)
Rossland
(114,201 to 114,300)
Salmon Arm
(114,301 to 114,500)
Smithers
(114,501 to 114,700)
Terrace
(114,701 to 114,900)
Trail
(114,901 to 115,200)
Vancouver
(115,201 to 116,200)
Vancouver East
(116,201 to 117,700)
Vancouver Point Grey
(117,701 to 118,700)
Vanderhoof
(118,701 to 118,900)

Vernon
(118,901 to 119,200)

Victoria
(119,201 to 120,700)

Williams Lake
(120,701 to 121,000)

MVB Audit Unit
(121,001 to 129,000)


Burnaby Stock Room

(129,001 to 147,300)

       
Distribution Info - 1974
Abbotsford:
100,000 to 100,500
(500)
Alberni:
100,501 to 100,800
(300)
Ashcroft:
100,801 to 100,950
(150)
Atlin:
100,951 to 101,000
(50)
Burnaby:
101,001 to 101,900
(900)
Burns Lake:
101,901 to 102,000
(100)
Campbell River:
102,001 to 102,300
(300)
Chilliwack:
102,301 to 102,800
(500)
Clinton:
102,801 to 102,825
(25)
Cloverdale:
102,826 to 103,400
(575)
Courtenay:
103,401 to 103,900
(500)
Cranbrook:
103,901 to 104,200
(300)
Creston:
104,201 to 104,300
(100)
Dawson Creek:
104,301 to 104,600
(300)
Duncan:
104,601 to 105,100
(500)
Fernie:
105,101 to 105,300
(200)
Fort Nelson:
105,301 to 105,400
(100)
Fort St. John:
105,401 to 105,600
(200)
Ganges:
105,601 to 105,700
(100)
Golden:
105,701 to 105,900
(200)
Grand Forks:
105,901 to 106,100
(200)
Haney:
106,101 to 106,500
(400)
Invermere:
106,501 to 106,600
(100)
Kamloops:
106,601 to 107,300
(700)
Kaslo:
107,301 to 107,350
(50)
Kelowna:
107,351 to 107,900
(550)
Kitimat:
107,901 to 108,000
(100)
Lillooet:
108,001 to 108,100
(100)
Merritt:
108,101 to 108,300
(200)
Mission:
108,301 to 108,500
(200)
Nanaimo:
108,501 to 109,100
(600)
Nelson:
109,001 to 109,400
(300)
New Westminster:
109,401 to 110,400
(1,000)
North Vancouver:
110,401 to 111,400
(1,000)
Oliver:
111,401 to 111,550
(150)
100 Mile House:
111,551 to 111,700
(150)
Penticton:
111,701 to 112,100
(400)
Port Hardy:
112,101 to 112,200
(100)
Pouce Coupe:
112,201 to 112,225
(25)
Powell River:
112,226 to 112,400
(175)
Prince George:
112,401 to 112,900
(500)
Prince Ruppert:
112,901 to 113,100
(200)
Princeton:
113,101 to 113,150
(50)
Queen Charlotte City:
113,151 to 113,300
(100)
Quesnel:
113,301 to 113,500
(200)
Revelstoke:
113,501 to 113,700
(200)
Richmond:
113,701 to 114,200
(500)
Rossland:
114,201 to 114,300
(100)
Salmon Arm:
114,301 to 114,500
(200)
Smithers:
114,501 to 114,700
(200)
Terrace:
114,701 to 114,900
(200)
Trail:
114,901 to 115,200
(300)
Vancouver:
115,201 to 116,200
(1,000)
Vancouver East:
116,201 to 117,700
(1,500)
Van. Point Grey:
117,701 to 118,700
(1,000)
Vanderhoof:
118,701 to 118,900
(200)
Vernon:
118,901 to 119,200
(300)
Victoria:
119,201 to 120,700
(1,500)
Williams Lake:
120,701 to 121,000
(300)
MVB Audit Unit:
121,001 to 129,000
(8,000)
Burnaby Stock Room:
129,001 to 147,300
(18,300)

A known prototype, it is thought that this particular plate (at left) is displaying a possible colour combination that might have been considered for use with the introduction of the "N" prefix in 1976.

1974 Die Variations
The 1974 base is notorious for using mismatched die types on the same plate. The image presented at left is but one example, with the number "1" being the most easily identifiable. It is not known why this occurred.

1974-78: Over-run
Ron Garay Collection
Anything look familiar?
It would seem that when the 10,000 sets that had been produced for issuance in 1978 ran out (i.e. "N50-001" to "N60-000"), the province ordered an additional set (of possibly 2,000 plates) to make it through to the new base plate scheduled for release in 1979.

As can be seen in to the two images shown above, instead of using the design that had been employed throughout the series, the plates were issued on the new 1979 base (but with the 1974 colours).


Shown above is the final design of the 1979 motorcycle base approved by the MVB's Reg Whitlock on April 21, 1978. We assume that Reg's decision allowed the production of the 1979 base to begin shortly thereafter.
1979 - 1986
Issuing Statistics
1979:
M00-000 to M99-999
???? L00-001 to L99-999
???? K00-000 to K99-999
???? J00-000 to J66-999*

* The "J" prefix is not thought to have been issued/needed prior to the introduction of the "Flag" series and the only surviving examples are from the "J12-" to "J14-" range:
1979 Over-run Oddballs
We know, according to MVB records, that the 1979 base only went as high as J-67-000. We also know that the "J" was likely not used prior to the switch to the "Flag" based on the plates shown above.

So, how is it there are is a small block of plates in the "J92" range that exist? We'll likely never know. That said, we are fairly confident that the 1985 decals were applied after the fact (see the serial numbers on the decals - only 3 apart!) and the fact that both plates never appear to have been mounted on a motorcycle.


1986 - 2003: Astrographic Dies
Issuing Statistics
1985:
J6-7000 to J9-9999
1985:
H0-0001 to H5-4999
1986:
H5-5000 to H9-9999
1986:
N0-0000 to N2-4999
1987:
N2-5000 to N4-2999
1988:
N4-3000 to N5-7999
1989:
N5-8000 to N9-9999
1989:
C0-0000 to C0-7999
1990:
C0-8000 to C4-2999
1991:
C4-3000 to C5-2999
1992:
C5-3000 to C7-3999
1993:
C7-4000 to C9-8999
1994:
C9-9000 to C9-9999
1994:
M0-0000 to M2-3999
1995:
unknown
1996:
unknown
1997:
unknown
1998:
unknown
1999:
unknown
2000:
unknown
2001:
unknown
2002:
unknown
2003:
unknown
Ron Garay Collection
"N9" block
Don Schneider Collection
Ron Garay Collection
"C7" block
Don Schneider Collection
Ron Garay Collection
Tom Lindner Collection
"M4" block
Ron Garay Collection
"E2" block

The Astrographics series commenced with a "J" prefix and progressed through "H", "N", "C", "M" and "E". When Waldale commenced production of motorcycle plates, the series was still in the "E" prefix and has since progressed through "K", "L" and "S" (as of June 2010). This leaves only the "W", "Y" and the remainder of the "V" (above V3-0000) prefixes.

2003 - 2013: Waldale Dies
"E" block
Issuing Statistics
2003:
unknown
2004:
unknown
2005:
unknown
2006:
unknown
2007:
unknown
2008:
unknown
2009:
unknown
2010:
unknown
2011:
unknown
2012:
unknown
2013:
unknown

Veteran Motorcycle Plate
In 2004, the Motorcycle plate was made available on the optional Veteran base. The prefix used on the plate is '"V" (for obvious reasons) and, following the release of the Olympic Motorcycle plate in 2007, it is thought that numbers V0-0000 through to V1-9999 have been reserved for use on this base. As of June 2010, this highest number spotted was V0-2263.

Olympic Motorcycle Plate
In 2007, the Motorcycle plate was one of the lucky six plate types along with passenger, truck, farm truck, trailer and utility trailer to be made available on the optional 2010 Olympic Winter Games base. The prefix used on the plate was "V" - this being the same prefix that appeared on the Veteran Motorcycle plate in 2004 - with the series starting at V2-0000, and it is thought that a bloc of only 10,000 plates has been set aside for use on this base (as the highest plate spotted as of June 2010 was V2-6797).

Redesign (2011)
On May 30, 2011, ICBC announced changes to the design of the motorcycle license plate that would see the size of the font used increased in size by 3/8" in order "to provide better visibility of the plate number." In addition, the graphic logo was shifted from the centre of the plate to the bottom right-hand corner with the "Flag" replaced by the "BC Mark", while the dual decal box was also introduced. The changeover occurred at the S59-000 mark. The old style of plate will continue to be valid, with Autoplan Agents instructed to issue the previous base from their inventories before issuing the new plates.

2011 - present: "BC Mark"
Issuing Statistics
2011:
S59-000 to S99-999
2012:
U00-000 to U99-999
2015:
W00-000 to W99-999
2017: Y00-000 to Y99-999
2019: Z00-000 to Z99-999
2021: J67-000 to J99-999

Ron Garay Collection

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