1939 and 1940 ONTARIO PLATE ALLOCATION

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The Ontario Motor League licence plate distribution tables for 1939 and 1940 are identical. All local offices across the province are listed as having the same alphanumeric allocations. A careful visual inspection of both printed data sets confirms that all data is exactly the same for the years 1939 and 1940.

 

Ontario used a "floating letter" format on its passenger plates from 1937 to 1954. The license plate series of 1939 and 1940 were allocated throughout the province as shown in the table below. You can sort by the issuing city, or by the order in which the alphanumeric serials were issued. You may also search for a city name.

Ontario omitted the letters G, I, O and Q in 1939 and 1940. One single letter appears in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th position of the serial number. No plates ever began with the digit zero in this era. Plates had a minimum of three characters and a maximum of five characters (except for the overflow series, explained later). Trailing numbers (to the right of the letter) advanced first, starting at 1, and ending with the maximum value (999, or 99, or 9, depending on available space). Leading numbers (to the left of the letter) advanced each time the trailing numbers rolled over, like so: 
 

1A1, 1A2, 1A3 ... 1A8, 1A9, 1A10, 1A11 ... 1A98, 1A99, 1A100, 1A101 ... 1A999, 2A1, 2A2 ...

The letter moves from the 2nd position to the 3rd when the leading numbers advance from one digit to two (e.g. going from 9 to 10 in the example below). Thus, the issuance progressed like so:

9A998, 9A999, 10A1, 10A2 ... 10A8, 10A9, 10A10, 10A11 ... 10A98, 10A99, 11A1, 11A2 ...

The letter moves from the 3rd position to the 4th when the left numbers advance from two digits to three (e.g. going from 99 to 100). Thus:

99A98, 99A99, 100A1, 100A2 ... 100A8, 100A9, 101A1, 101A2 ...

The leading numbers must advance from 1 all the way to 999. Once 999 is passed, The letter advances and returns to the 2nd position, and the cycle repeats:
 

999A8, 999A9, 1B1, 1B2, 1B3...

In 1939 and 1940, more Ontario plates were required after the regular series were exhausted. To satisfy demand, Ontario manufactured "overflow" plates with letters V, W, X, Y, and Z in the first position. The Ontario Motor League Road Book does not mention these allocations for either 1939 or 1940. They were probably determined after the OML press deadline. General speculation among collectors suggests that the Z-prefix plates were manufactured first, and that manufacture continued in reverse alphabetical order:

 

999Z8, 999Z9, Z1, Z2, Z3 ... Z9998, Z9999, Y1, Y2, Y3...

There is no OML data for 1939 or 1940 to indicate where in Ontario these plates were issued, and they have been omitted from the table below.

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Note: This table has more rows than can be displayed on this page. The hidden rows can be seen by scrolling. Either mouse over the table and use your scroll wheel, or find the narrow beige or grey scroll bar on the right edge of the table, and click-drag it.