Ontario License Plates 1969-present

ON 69 #86-30N
Ontario 1969 passenger issue. Ontario plates of this era were issued in either an all-numeric format, or with a single alpha prefix or suffix and 1-5 numbers. A crown was used as a separator on the plate. From 1965 through 1972, plates alternated between white on blue (odd years) and blue on white (even years). Blanks from 1969 through 1972 were painted white on one side and blue on the other so they could be used to make plates of either color scheme.
ON 70 #324-58A
Ontario 1970 passenger issue. Another issue with a single-alpha suffix. This plate is standard even-year blue on white.
ON 71 #170-77J
Ontario 1971 passenger issue. These plates were identical in color and format to the 1969 issue, aside from the date.
ON 72 #777-48H
Ontario 1972 passenger issue. Another even-year plate, this issue was identical to the 1970 format. This was the last yearly issue for Ontario.
ON 72 #R5-991
Ontario 1972 passenger issue. Some late period 1972 plates feature the narrower crown separator that was put into use on the 1973 base. These are somewhat rare, showing up only on some plates in the R-prefix series.
ON 74 #AOS-568
Ontario 1974 passenger issue (1973 base). These new baseplates were introduced at the end of 1972 and were valid throughout 1973 without stickers. These plates introduced a revised, narrower crown and the slogan "Keep It Beautiful". This plate also used a more standard ABC-123 serial format. They were issued in this dated format through 1978 (up to the end of the "NKJ" series), and can still be used today with proper validation.
ON 75 #KBA-765
Ontario 1975 passenger issue (1973 base). Same series as above, I've included this plate and the next one to show a couple different die variations in use on Ontario plates through this period. I'd always considered Ontario perhaps the one oasis of stability in Canada as far as die variations went, and as such hadn't realized there were two sets until running into these two KBx plates consecutively in the same trade box. Oh well...
ON 75 #KBJ-320
Ontario 1975 passenger issue (1973 base). Another 1975 issue on this base, this plate shows an alternate die set from the other 1975 plate shown above. The characters on this plate are a bit wider, as can be seen on the "K" and especially the loops in the "B". There doesn't seem to be a pattern to this variation, both sets seem to show up randomly through this stretch.
ON 79 #NOB-803
Ontario 1979 passenger issue. This base variation of the 1973 baseplate eliminated the embossed "73" and sticker box that does not join the border of the plate. This variant of the "Keep It Beautiful" base was issued from 1978 through 1982 (serial NKK through TMA), and can still be valid today with stickers.
ON 83 #VFC-324
Ontario 1983 passenger issue. In 1982, the slogan on Ontario plates was changed to "Yours To Discover". This occurred at the "TMB" serial of the ABC-123 sequence. The sticker box was also removed from the plate. Plates in this configuration were issued until 1986, when the end of the ZZZ series was reached. Staggered monthly registration, based on the owner's birth month, was established starting in 1983. The JUN 83 sticker on this plate is the earliest possible month/year combination and is something of a rarity I'm told.
ON 87 #629-BLC
Ontario 1987 passenger issue. In 1986, the serial format was switched to 123-ABC after plate ZZZ-999 was reached. This format plate was issued through 1994 and again remains valid with proper stickers along with all 1973-present issues.
ON 96 #074-WYE
Ontario 1996 passenger issue. This new screened graphic base was issued starting in 1994, featuring narrower dies for the serial to accommodate seven-digit plates. These plates picked up where the previous series had left off, around the "VYJ" series. These plates, featuring a modified numbering format, remain the current Ontario passenger issue as of 1998.
ON 97 #AAKD-942
Ontario 1997 passenger issue. In 1997, plate number 998-ZZZ was reached on the new graphic base (999-ZZZ had been issued as a vanity earlier), so a new numbering format was required. Ontario chose this unique seven-digit system using four alpha and three numeric, therefore extending the series by a factor of 26 (approximately, not taking unused letters into account). This series started off at AAAA-001 and as of 2001 is into the "ALxx" series.
ON 99 #ACHT-411
Ontario 1999 passenger issue. Starting with the ACCV series of Ontario plates, the contract for manufacture of the reflective backing material for the plates was awarded to the Avery Corp., resulting in a couple changes in the appearance of the plates. The Avery reflective material has a shinier appearance to it. The "Yours To Discover" slogan is also printed using a slightly smaller, less bold type. These plates also have a small blue mark below the lower left bolthole, which is used as a registration mark for the automated stamping machines to correctly line up the blanks.
ON 04 #ASML-993
Ontario 2004 passenger issue. Starting somewhere near the beginning of the ASDK series in 2003, Ontario switched from the Avery sheeting material back to 3M stock. The Avery reflective backing had not been wearing well, with most plates experiencing cracking around the letters and numbers within only a year or two of use. Presumably the cost of replacing plates prematurely was outrunning any savings the province was realizing, so they switched back.
Plate Needed!
ON Waldale
Photo courtesy Jim Beckstead
In late 2016, Ontario faced a shortage of plates on hand and placed an emergency order to Waldale, Ltd. in Nova Scotia. This resulted in a number of plates near the start of the C series (ordering data suggests CASA through CATR series) being made with Waldale's narrow die set, used initially on Mississippi plates and since appearing on plates from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Alberta and others. Plates made after this sequence reverted back to standard Ontario dies.
ON 21 #CMAV-943
Ontario 2021 passenger issue. Ontario unwittingly served up a modern rarity in 2019, which I'll let Ontario correspondent David Grant describe:
In April 2019, the newly elect premier of Ontario Doug Ford announced a new design for Ontario license plates. The new flat aluminum plates were to highlight Ford's government's brand; blue background with white serials and a light blue "swish" of a corner of a trillium leaf. The new plates, designed and manufactured by 3M, were also to feature a new slogan "A Place to Grow", replacing the slogan that had been in use for 37 years: "Yours to Discover". The new plates were issued to the public in February 2020 starting at CMAA-001. Unfortunately within a month, the plates received much criticism for not being visible under certain lighting conditions particularly at night. This prompted the Ford government to discontinue these plates and resort back to re-issuing the blue on white aluminum Trilcor and Waldale plates with the "Yours to Discover" slogan, beginning at about the CPJA series. CMAA to approximately CMMZ were issued to the public before the stop order. It is believed production continued up to approximately CPHZ.

Additional Ontario information provided by: Jon Upton, Joe Sallmen, Manny Jacob, David Grant

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Last Modified 6/14/2021 (added 2021 plate).