British Columbia Logging License Plates

A special thanks to Dave Hollins and Graham Casey for providing the images shown on this page!

Forestry is one of the most important industries in British Columbia, and as a result there have been a number of plates that have been used by logging companies.
The forestry industry in British Columbia has also witnessed some of the fiercest environmental protests (i.e. Clayquout Sound) over harvesting (read: clear-cutting) practices, and it is not without some irony that Logging license plates would not display the "Beautiful British Columbia" until 1989 (25 years after the slogan was first introduced).

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Under the title of `New Letters on Car Plates`, the Victoria Times reported in 1938 that "three new letter classifications have been added to British Columbia`s motor licenses this year, segregating special classes of plates."
These included the letters "PW" (for vehicles belonging to the Public Works Department); "PN" (for vehicles belonging to Medical Doctors); and "PF" (for vehicles belonging to the Forestry Department).
Of these plate types, two have been verified, but it is not known if the "PF" prefix was ever issued. By 1940, the records maintained by the Motor Vehicle Branch (MVB) confirm the "PW"and "PN" plate types were, in fact, being issued, but make no reference to the "PF" plate (unfortunately, I am missing the records for the years 1938-39).

1938 - 1939: "PF"

1938
1939
 
Issuing Statistics
1938:
unknown
1939:
unknown

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Seasonal plates are introduced in 1961 with quarterly expiry periods occurring at the end of May, August and November of each year. From December 1st to the end of the registration year on February 28th, it is understood that logging trucks were issued standard "C" prefix plates. These first two years of issue can be distinguished from later years by the full use of the word "EXPIRES" at the top of each plate:
1961 - 1962
1961
(November Expiry)
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a "C" Prefix
Issuing Statistics
1961:
unknown
1962:
unknown
1962
(May Expiry)
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a "C" Prefix
The general issuing sequence, to be used through 1976, would see the first set issued from the No. T1; the second set from T25-000; and the third set from T50-000.

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The period from the mid-1960s is characterised by the abbreviated "EXP." appearing at the top of the plate and by the fact that, despite the introduction of the "Beautiful" slogan on most plates types in 1964, this moniker would not be used on the Logging truck base (most likely due to space constraints):

1963 - 1971
1963
(November Expiry)
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a "C" Prefix
Issuing Statistics
1963:
unknown
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a "C" Prefix
1964:
T1 to T2-600
  T25-001 to T27-600
  T50-001 to T52-600
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a "C" Prefix
1965:
T1 to T2-000
  T25-001 to T27-000
  T50-001 to T52-000
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a "C" Prefix
1966:
T1 to T2-000
  T25-001 to T27-000
  T50-001 to T52-000
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a "C" Prefix
1967:
T1 to T2-200
  T25-001 to T27-200
  T50-001 to T52-200
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a "C" Prefix
1968:
T1 to T2-100
  T25-001 to T27-200
  T50-001 to T52-200
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a "C" Prefix
1969:
T1 to T2-400
  T25-001 to T27-400
  T50-001 to T52-400
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a "C" Prefix
1970:
T1 to T2-700
  T25-001 to T27-700
  T50-001 to T52-700
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a "C" Prefix
1971:
T1 to T2-900
  T25-001 to T27-900
  T50-001 to T52-900

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The period of the mid-1970s is characterised by the removal of the date stamp that had appeared at the bottom right-hand corner of plates from 1960-71 (which was a rather redundant feature in hindsight given the expiry of the plates is clearly displayed at the top of the plates).

Also of note, the issuing sequence was altered in 1977 with the first period possibly starting at T10-000; the second at T35-000; and the third at T60-000:
1972 - 1977
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a Commercial plate
Issuing Statistics
1972:
T1 to T3-300
  T25-001 to T28-300
  T50-001 to T53-300
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a Commercial plate
1973:
T1 to T3-300
  T25-001 to T28-300
  T50-001 to T53-300
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a Commercial plate
1974:
T1 to T3-600
  T25-001 to T28-600
  T50-001 to T53-600
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a Commercial plate
1975:
T1 to T3-500
  T25-001 to T29-500
  T50-001 to T54-500
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a Commercial plate
1976:
T1 to T5-000
  T25-001 to T30-000
  T50-001 to T55-000
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a Commercial plate
1977:
T10-001 to T15-000
  T35-001 to T40-000
  T60-001 to T65-000

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Following the closure of the Oakalla production facility in the mid-1970s, the province began to contract out the manufacture of license plates and, as can be seen starting in 1978, new die types began to appear on the Logging base.

1978 - 1979 - Quebec Dies (Acme Signalisation)
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a Commercial plate
Issuing Statistics
1978:
T15-001 to T18-000
  T40-001 to T43-000
  T70-001 to T73-000
Ron Garay Collection
Ron Garay Collection
December 1st to February28th Quarter would would have been issued a Commercial plate
1979:
unknown

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In 1980, the period of each quarter was amended so that the licensing year commenced with the calendar year (whereas the registration year for most other vehicle types remained the end of February) and the quarters now finished at the end of March, May, September and December, with a "T" prefix plate introduced for the fourth quarter. The 1980 bases colour scheme of orange-on-white would also be rotated with the 1979 black-on-white scheme for a six year period (to 1985).

1980 - 1983
Issuing Statistics
1980:
T01-000 to T04-499
  T29-000 to T32-499
  T54-000 to T57-499
  T79-000 to T82-499
Ron Garay Collection

It is assumed that this plate (T79-412) and others like it were issued as a bridge between the end of the 1979 licence year and the start of the 1980 licence year as the province was introducing staggered registration periods for most other forms of commercial vehicles.

Apart from sporting the 1979 colour scheme, this particular plate expired on February 29, a date which had not previously been used on the Quarterly Logging Truck plates. In addition, the serial number does not correspond to any of the quarters used in 1980, but probably followed the end of the third quarter 'T' plates issued in 1979 (but it is not possible to confirm this as we are missing the issuing date for that year).

1981:
T10-000 to T13-499
  T32-500 to T35-999
  T57-500 to T60-999
  T82-500 to T85-999
Graham Casey Collection
1982:
T13-500 to T17-499
  T36-000 to T39-999
  T61-000 to T64-999
  T86-000 to T89-999
1983:
T17-500 to T21-499
  T40-000 to T43-999
  T65-000 to T68-999
  T90-000 to T93-999

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Given the die type used in 1984, it is thought that this year's plates were produced by High Signs of Edmonton, Alberta. Apart from the obvious design change with the introduction of a decal box at bottom centre, the expiry date underwent a minor modification with the replacement of dashes with dots (i.e. "30-9-83" was replaced with "30.09.84"):

1984
Issuing Statistics
1984:
T01-000 to T04-999
  T44-000 to T47-999
  T69-000 to T72-999
  T94-000 to T97-999

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There will probably never be a rational explanation to describe what happened with the 1985 plates (or subsequent issues as will be seen below).

As has been written elsewhere on this site, when the Province awarded the plate manufacturing contract to Astrographics in the early 1980s, the company encountered a number of problems trying to meet its obligations. Not least of the problems was the failure of its main press.
It is thought that that the plates shown below in the T2-8000 range were originally produced by Astrographics as genuine Logging Truck plates. However, following the failure of their press, alternate arrangements had to be taken to meet their commitments to the Province.
This would appear to include the re-use of plates originally issued in 1984 which, rather fortuitously, contained decal boxes thereby allowing for an ease of re-use. In addition, other base types were pressed (pardon the pun) into duty by placing a makeshift expiry date at the top of the plate.
1985 - A year of transition / confusion
1985
(March Expiry)
1985
(June Expiry)
1985
(September Expiry)
1985
(March Expiry)
1985
(December Expiry)
1985
(March Expiry)
1985
(June Expiry)
Accordingly, there are effectively seen to be three different types of 1985 Logging Truck plates.

When viewed up close, it is actually quite easy to decipher the different plate types that Astrographics was required to gang-press (pardon the pun) to meet the demand for Logging plates.

The following image attempts to show how a "Trailer Floater" plate was re-branded a Logging Truck plate. Run your mouse over the image below to get a better view:

Run your mouse over this image and BEHOLD!

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The problems encountered in 1985 were not unique and would be repeated for the next three years:

1986 - 1988 (Black & Blue)
1986
(June Expiry - Black)
1986
(September Expiry - Black)
Issuing Statistics
1986:
T0-9500 to T1-3999
  T3-2500 to T3-6999
  T5-5500 to T5-9999
  T7-8506 to T8-2999
Issuing Statistics
1987:
T1-4000 to T1-9999
  T3-7000 to T4-2999
  T6-0000 to T6-5999
  T8-4500 to T9-0499
1987
(March Expiry - Black)
1987
(June Expiry - Black)
1987
(December Expiry - Black)
Issuing Statistics
1988:
T2-0000 to T2-5999
  T4-3000 to T4-8999
  T6-6000 to T7-1999
  T9-0500 to T9-6499
1988
(March Expiry - Black)
1988
(June Expiry - Black)
1988
(December Expiry - Black)
 
For unknown reasons, the Astrographics had a hard time in 1987 accurately predicting the number of logging plates that would be required in each of the quarters. As can partially be seen on the example shown below, a September expiry was re-labeled with a December 31st expiry.
 
This following plate is one of my favourites. It is hard to see in the above image, but if you look very closely you will see the tops of letter sticking out ever so slightly above the expiration date. Curious as to what it might say? Well, run your mouse over it and the mystery will be revealed.

Run your mouse over this image and BEHOLD!
Yes, despite the apparent abundance of September expiry plates that resulted in the earlier example (shown just above) being re-born as a December expiry, it would seem that September soon was in short supply. An apparent over-supply of Repairman bases was soon called upon to fill this shortage through the application of a black strip (as part of the reflectorized layer), to cover up the Repairman title. The plate was then stamped with the standard "T" prefix for a Logging plate.
 
But wait, it gets better, the following image shows that other Logging plates were finally cannibalised for the purposes of providing September expiry plates.
Due to the thickness of this particular black strip, it is not possible to tell what month and year this plate came from, but the blue strip underneath clearly identifies it as a Logging plate.
 
Finally, and of particular amusement, the application of the makeshift expiry date strip occasionally happened in a haphazard manner as these identical plates received different coloured strips:

BLACK EXPIRY STRIP

BLUE EXPIRY STRIP

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Only by 1989, about a good five years after it had assumed the manufacturing of BC plates, was Astrographics able to begin issuing the Logging Truck base as it was intended - on the Flag Graphic base with decal renewal and the full "Beautiful British Columbia" displayed across the top of the plate.

While the plates shown below are hardly a representative sample, it appears safe to assume that the quarterly registration system of March; June; September and December expirations has been retained.
To continue our hypothesizing, it is assumed that the series was started at T0-0000 and has progressed sequentially since this point. As can be seen from the plates issued between 1985 and 1988, it is probable that many of the available 100,000 combinations were used, however as date stamped plates, they could easily be pulled off the roads to allow the series to be re-commenced at zero.
1989 - 2013 - "Beautiful" (finally!)
1990

Issuing Statistics

1989:
T0-0001 to T1-0000
1991:
T1-1301 to T1-7300
1993:
T1-7301 to T1-8500
1994:
T1-8501 to T2-0500
????:
T2-0501 to T2-8000
1999:
T2-8001 to T2-8750
2001:
T2-8751 to T3-0750
1994
1996
1997
1998
1999
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
While it is recognised that Waldale probably would have overtaken the manufacturing of these plates early in the new century, it is not yet know at what point in the series this would have occurred (stay tuned ...).
 
Sources
Dave Hollins - www.easypl8s.com

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