Ranking Canadian license plates: worst to best

Canada is a massive country in terms of land size and even though our population is quite scarce in some regions, we all have something in common: we like to drive.  The country is jigsawed together with unique provinces and territories, each with their own culture and flare.  Being a Canadian website about cars, I have decided to rank all our beloved provinces by their license plate from worst to best.

These are the standard license plates in which each province has to offer.  There are many specialty and alternative plates for each region, but if we decided to include all of these, the post would take forever to read, write, and rank.

My ranking factors include:

  • Design
  • Creativity
  • Colours
  • Slogan

13. Ontario

ontario license plate

It pains me to write this considering this is my home province where I was born, and currently live.  The Ontario license plate flat out sucks. It has a boring design, with little colour, and does a poor job of representing the country’s most busy province.  The slogan “Yours to discover” is cool, but it’s not enough to move the needle past last place for this list.

12. Newfoundland & Labrador

newfoundland & labrador license plate

It was a toss up between Newfoundland & Labrador and Quebec for the 12th position, but ultimately the deciding factor was how poorly the space was optimized on this license plate. There is a lot of white space, no slogan, and it uses an ugly/childish font for the text “Newfoundland Labrador” which does not match the font for the plate numbers. One redeeming factor is the image of the provinces official flower, the Pitcher Plant, but it’s not enough to sway my decision.

11. Quebec

quebec license plate

Another boring license plate with next to no colour, besides the blue used on the font.  Hopefully this ranking does not upset our good friends from Quebec, but at the end of the day, this license plate is not very nice to look.  I do like the small block logo of the Fleur de lis which is placed by the Quebec text at the top of the plate.  There is also a slogan “Je me souvins” which translates into “I remember” that provides a bit of uniqueness.

10. British Columbia

british columbia license plate

We are starting to get a little bit better with the design, and next comes British Columbia on the list.  This license plate has a bit more colour, and a catchy slogan of “Beautiful British Columbia” spread across the top. There is also a picture of the provincial flag in the middle, separating the plate numbers. Still, the license plate is lacking creativity, and the font is outdated (I was always a sans-serif font type of guy).

9. Alberta

alberta license plate

This plate comes with a bit more colour for the different fonts that are used on the slogan, and the plate numbers.  It might be higher on the list, but the slanted letters on Alberta, and the slogan cheapen the look.  The slogan reads “Wild Rose Country” and has an image of the Wild Rose flower beside the lettering of Alberta.  True story: The province held a contest for a redesign of a new license plate, and a winner was chosen.  After much opposition to the changed design, the province elected to scrap it and return to the original plate which you see here.

8. Yukon

the yukon license plate

Ok – this license plate is kind of fun, but it loses points because of the image of the prospector mining for gold.  In theory this is cool, but the actual image looks old and outdated.  People will argue that this design should be higher on the list because of its uniqueness, but the colours do not mesh well. A heavy black font for the plate numbers looks awkward with the blue, red, and orange which are used throughout the design. I do like the slogan of “The Klondike” though – it adds a nice touch.

7. Saskatchewan

saskatchewan license plate

The license plate of Saskatchewan is a clean looking design with the slogan “Land of Living Skies” which I really like. I’m not too crazy about the choice of colour for the font, it appears to be some sort of teal colour. The added touch with the wheat plant is nice too.  This is a basic plate, with some nice touches and that is why it’s in the middle of the pack.

6. Nova Scotia

nova scotia license plate

This is a cool little license plate. The only thing it is lacking in my opinion, is a bit more colour.  It has two shades of blue, an image of the Bluenose schooner, and a nice slogan that reads “Canada’s Ocean Playground” below the plate numbers.

5. Nunavet

nunavut license plate

This is a very colourful license plate, and I will probably be criticized for not having it further down the list.  This uniquely designed plate features a polar bear, a colourful portrayal of the Northern Lights (aurora borealis), and an inuksuk which is a man-made stone structure.  There is also the lettering of Nunavut with some Inuktitut symbols displaying: ᓄᓇᕗᑦ.  There’s definitely a lot going on with this license plate, maybe a little too much.

4. New Brunswick

new brunswick license plate

I really like the license plate from New Brunswick from a design perspective.  It is clean, utilizes its space properly, has good colours, and has it’s slogan in both English and French.  The slogan reads “Be…in this place – Être…ici on le peut” along the bottom of the plate below the numbers.

3. Prince Edward Island (PEI)

pei license plate

Entering the top 3 comes the small province of Prince Edward Island. This is the only license plate that has a Canadian flag within the design. The plate also embraces lots of colour, has a lot of cool images such as the provincial house, the Canadian flag as previously mentioned, the provincial flag, and the slogan that reads “Birthplace of Confederation” along the bottom.  All of it is very clean with a high amount of detail, which I quite like a lot.

2. Manitoba

manitoba license plate

The license plate of Manitoba steps in at number 2. This is a great license plate in my opinion, partially because I am a big fan of scenic forest landscapes, which this license plate incorporates. There is lots of colour on this plate, and even a little Canadian leaf as the dot for the ‘i’ in Manitoba.  The slogan reads “Friendly Manitoba” across the top, which is fitting for this friendly looking license plate.

1. Northwest Territories

northwest territories license plate

The number one license plate in Canada according to my list, and personal preference goes to the Northwest Territories.  This license plate is actually the inspiration for this post / list as I was on my way to work one day, and happened to pull up behind a vehicle from the Northwest Territories.  I had never seen this plate before, so it was a shocker to me that it was so cool.  The design is in the shape of a polar bear, need I say more? There is also nice usage of colours highlighting the bear with a beautiful scenic landscape.  Very simple, yet so awesome.

Agree/disagree? Leave your comments below and let us know the correct order!


By | 2017-10-16T10:44:26+00:00 July 4th, 2017|Lists, The411|


  1. Sebastian July 6, 2017 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Yukon should be higher, New Brunswick lower

    • Steven Boffa
      Steven Boffa July 11, 2017 at 11:20 am - Reply

      I thought someone would say this! Thanks for the input.

  2. Bob October 11, 2017 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    Well when you write ‘I hope it does not upset our friends from Quebec’… No matter what you will say they do not accept criticism! Trust me I have been living in Montreal for the last 40 years. Also that boring and annoying plate has been the same since 1979!!! Cheeze they are not original and when you ask why the ‘Je me souviens’ meaning I remember at the bottom of the plate no one knows what it means! At least all the other provinces have changed their license plates since the last forty years not Quebec… One last thing, you wrote ‘The Yukon’ it’s wrong only Yukon is ok.

    • Steven Boffa
      Steven Boffa October 16, 2017 at 10:44 am - Reply

      Thanks for the insight Bob! I have made an edit based off your suggestion 🙂

  3. Darren February 5, 2018 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    I think PEI should be number 1 and NWT number 2 on this list but this is pretty accurate.

  4. Frank D. Pollard March 4, 2018 at 8:46 am - Reply

    I used to have a few license plates that I ordered from different states and provinces. I always liked the Northwest Territories plate best, because of its shape, although back then it was just blue and white.

  5. Deborah Alexander July 6, 2018 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    I still think Ontario’s is best for only one reason. I saw a personalized plate that said “DIANA” and immediately benieth…. You got it:. “yours to discover” . 😉

  6. jeffsw April 8, 2019 at 1:42 am - Reply

    I agree with the on user that PEI should be #1, or at least #2. NWT has an awesome plate and does belong at #2, but #1 is good too. Ontario, and perhaps Quebec, don’t belong on your list. Their plates are too ugly to have to be shown on the web.

  7. Louis-Philippe Lamy July 28, 2019 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    “Je me souviens” on Quebec Plates is a patriotic device which will never be understood by other Canadians who unfortunately still believe that we’re only a part in Canadian Multiculturalism along with people from Chinese or Ukrainian descent, etc., the difference being that we don’t want to assimilate. “Je me souviens” refers to our French past and heritage. This is not a “separatist” device because how explain it is still in use since 1978 despite several Liberal and federalist governments? For the plate itself, it need some retouching but its classical look is more due to cost cutting mesures. I think it’s the same for Ontario plate, manufactured at low cost with no special feature.

  8. Louis-Philippe Lamy July 28, 2019 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    I must say my favourite Canadian plate is the Saskatchewan issue but why put an ugly day sticker right below the sheaf of wheat? There is an empty location at the bottom left of the plate.

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