PORCELAIN PLATES.NET
A Website for Porcelain License Plate Collectors & Enthusiasts
Ontario Archive
TOTAL KNOWN PORCELAIN VARIETIES: 7

I: PRE-PROVINCIALS / CITY & COUNTY PLATES

HAMILTON

There are no porcelain license plates known from Ontario's pre-Provincial era.  
However, beginning in 1913, there was a small series of porcelain boat plates
issued by the Hamilton, Ontario Harbour Commission.  Hamilton is one of the
largest two ports in the Province, and as Joe Sallmen writes in his book on the
history of Ontario license plates, boat plates never fell under the jurisdiction of
the province, so it was up to the Harbour Commission to issue licenses as it saw
fit.  These plates are known in porcelain for a period of at least five years, from
1913 through 1917, although it should be pointed out that no 1914 issue has yet
been seen.  These plates started at #1 and went up to approximately #300 each
year.  I have only documented a grand total of 10 surviving examples of these
elusive plates from all years combined.  After 1917, the Harbour Commission
apparently switched to metal plates.



















II: PROVINCIALLY-ISSUED PASSENGER PLATES

Ontario first began licensing vehicles in
the province in 1903 when owners were
required to produce and display plates of
their own making.  Eight years later, the
province took over with its first
standardized plate, kicking off the
provincial run with an attractive porcelain
plate in 1911.  This date, while late by U.S.
standards, ties Ontario with Manitoba and
New Brunswick as the earliest Canadian
provinces to begin the formal issuance of
license plates.  In fact, although they were
dated 1911, these plates were actually
good for a period from December 1, 1910
through February 28, 1912.  There must have been some communication between
officials in Ontario and Manitoba in 1910 over their soon to be issued plates, as
both Provinces ended up ordering virtually identical passenger license plates.  
We can’t say for sure who made the Manitoba plates, but most experts are
convinced it was the McClary Stove Company of London, Ontario – the same
company that is reported to have made the Ontario 1911 porcelains.  In the end,
Sallmen shows that 11,339 first-issue Ontario porcelains were issued.   In 1912,
Ontario switched to the issuance of flat painted steel plates – making it the only
Canadian province to have started its provincial run with porcelain and then
abandon it after a single year.












III: PROVINCIALLY-ISSUED NON-PASSENGER PLATES

DEALER

In 1911, dealers were issued distinct non-numeric porcelain plates.  In some
cases, dealers could personalize these plates.  For example, plate #E.M.F. was
registered to a dealership founded by Barney Everitt, William Metzger and Walter
Flanders.  Although there is some evidence to suggest dealers could
alternatively opt for a choice of plates bearing a single letter sequentially in the
alphabet, the only such surviving single-digit plate known (#W) carries a period
after the letter, suggesting that it too is an abbreviated personalized plate.  
Interestingly, the Ontario porcelain dealers are the only known porcelain license
plates of any kind from the U.S. or Canada to bear individualized numbers or
letters.  All other plates, including similar looking porcelains from Saskatchewan,
use letters to represent their place in standard numerical sequences.     











MOTORCYCLE

Very little is known about the 1911 motorcycle plates from Ontario.  However, they
were indeed manufactured – as virtual miniatures of the passenger plates.  It is
unclear how many were issued, but from the two surviving examples I've seen,
we know they neared #900 at least










FURTHER READING

Joseph P. Sallmen, Ontario License Plates: A Century of History (2003), pp.
1913
Boat
White/Blue
4 1/2" x 8"
1915
Boat
Blue/White
4 1/2" x 8"
1916
Boat
Black/White
4 1/2" x 8"
1917
Boat
Red/White
4 1/2" x 8"
1911
White/Blue
6 1/2" x 12"
Pairs
Range: 1 - Approx. 11,500
1911
White/Blue
  Singles?
Range: 1 - Approx. 900
1911
White/Blue
6 1/2" x 12"
Pairs?
Range*
* Dealer plates were non-numeric and bore personalized initials.
Ontario 1911