British Columbia Passenger License Plates
1936-1939

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A special thanks to Tom Lindner, Dallas Doyle, Pierre Delacote and Ron Garay for providing many of the plates pictured.

After 1935, the date was switched to stacked numerals in order to provide more space for the regsitration numbers, while Tacey's straight dies were abandoned in favour of the slanted dies, which would be used continuosly for the next 18 years (1936-54).

1936
Issuing Statistics
Initial Series:

1 to 85,550

Registered:
84,062
Over-run:
4,450 (90,000)*
Issued:
Pairs
Manufacturer:
Oakalla Prison
Dimensions:
292 mm x 142 mm
Material:
Metal
Comments:
....
* Estimate / Unconfirmed

As the story goes, General Noel Money (beleived to be shown centre in the undated photo at right) was an avid fisherman who came to Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island for a fishing trip in 1913 and, so taken with the location was he, that he returned with his family a few short months later and acquired 6 parcels of land from the Merchant's Trust and Trading Company.

At that time, the Merchant's Trust and Trading Company were building the Qualicum Beach Hotel (shown below right) and an adjacent golf course. Money also became a shareholder in the Company and, after the completion of the Great War in 1919, would return to Qualicum Beach to manage the new hotel and golf course.

Money, apparently, was at ease among the wealthy and famous and was able to attract numerous Hollywood celebrities, well-known politicians and royalty to the hotel - putting Qualicum Beach on the map as an exclusive, up-scale resort destination.

It is assumed that his out-going personality and the connections he was able to cultivate at the hotel, particularly with provincial politicians, allowed Money to procure for himself the No. 1 license plate (shown below left - NOTE: the Qualicum Beach topper shown in this photo is an ad-on and is not associated with Money), possibly as early as the 1920s.
Ron Garay Collection
Money would hold the No. 1 until 1938 when it was repatriated by the provincial government for use on an official vehicle and he ultimately died three years later in 1941.
The fate of the No. 1's that Money was issued is unknown, however, the 1936 shown above is purported to have been in a box of plates purchased at a garage sale in Qualicum Beach many years ago. As often happens in these cases, details of the location of the garage sale have become blurry as time passes. All that is known is that the couple that purchased the box had to travel up a very long driveway to the house where the sale was happening.
While this is not much to go on, Qualicum Beach is also not a very big municipality and it is thought that the house in question might have been at what is now known as the "Milner Gardens and Woodland". Money had constructed a house on the estate that would become the Gardens and Woodland for his mother and sister in 1929 before eventually selling to Ray & Rina Milner in 1937.
It is not un-heard of for old license plates to be unearthed in garages deacdes after being issued and it would seem that Money may have left at least one of his 1936 No. 1 plates in the garage when the property was sold to the Milner's.


1937
Issuing Statistics
Initial Series:

1 to 87,400

Registered:
91,549
Over-run:
7,600 (95,000)*
Issued:
Pairs
Manufacturer:
Oakalla Prison
Dimensions:
292 mm x 142 mm
Material:
Metal
Comments:
....
* Estimate / Unconfirmed


1938
Issuing Statistics
Initial Series:

1 to unknown

Registered:
94,346
Over-run:
unknown (99,999)*
Issued:
Pairs
Manufacturer:
Oakalla Prison
Dimensions:
286 mm x 136 mm
Material:
Metal
Comments:
....
* Estimate / Unconfirmed


1939
Issuing Statistics
Initial Series:

1 to unknown

Registered:
96,373
Over-run:
unknown (99,999)*
Issued:
Pairs
Manufacturer:
Oakalla Prison
Dimensions:
288 mm x 136 mm
Material:
Metal
Comments:
....
* Estimate / Unconfirmed

There is no denying that the early plates made at Oakalla were solid, but nothing lasts forever, particularly when buried in the ground in a place where it rains a lot. The plates at left date from the 1920s through to the 1940s and were unearthed in a backyard in 2020.

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