ONTARIO — The province returns to a blue-background licence plate for the first time since 1971, as part of branding changes announced during the Ford government’s first budget yesterday.
Derided by the Opposition as a partisan move intended to advertise Tory colours, the basic colour scheme — blue background with white lettering — is not, however, unprecedented in Ontario. Prior to the adoption of the sticker renewal system in 1973, Ontario motorists changed their complete plates annually, and for a period through the 1960s, the background colour switched to blue every other year. 1971 was the last example.
Media reports suggest the plate size has been tweaked a bit to meet a newer North American standard and also features flattened lettering.
The 2019 budget delivered by Finance Minister Vic Fedeli at Queen’s Park also confirmed that commercial plates will be adorned with the slogan “Open for Business” — news that had already broken several days ago — while regular ones will feature “A Place to Grow.” (That tagline bears a striking similarity to North Stormont’s promotional slogan “A Good Place to Grow.”)
The revamped plates will also feature the province’s “new” trillium design, which is really just a return to the pre-McGuinty government logo. (The return to the retro logo already quietly revealed on cannabis retailer compliance signs issued earlier this year.) The stock of old plates will be exhausted before the new, blue ones are rolled out, according to the government.