Q: Are these real licence plates that I can put on my vehicle?
A: YES! They are approved by the Ministry of Transportation and only available from Service Ontario. They can only be affixed to vehicles registered in Ontario.
Q: How did this project start?
A: RCA777 approached Geocaching HQ and Service Ontario in 2011 with an idea. A year later, with a huge amount of support from the geocaching community, 200 sets of plates were pre-ordered. The supporters who ordered the original 200 plates have numbers between 01GC01 and 01GC99, 02GC01 and 02GC99.. as well as 03GC01 and 03GC02.
Any plates you see on the road (personalized plates with the graphic or plates with the number 03GC03 and onwards) were made possible by the purchasers or the original 200 plates.
Q: Are these “Official” plates? Does Geocaching HQ know you are using the Geocaching.com® logo?
A: You can order graphic licence plates from your local Service Ontario office.
Q: I have a truck; can I get plates for that?
A: If you have a car… or truck…. or an ambulance, an armoured vehicle, a cab and chassis, a casket wagon, a tractor designed for hauling trailers on a highway, a fire fighting vehicle, a garbage truck, a hearse, a rescue vehicle, a stake, a tanker, a tow truck or a commercial vehicle body that has a beverage rack, concrete mixer, concrete pumper, flusher, glass rack, refrigerator or snow plow.. then you can get graphic licence plates. Yes. We checked.
Q: How Much Do They Cost?
The current pricing is always available on the Ontario.ca website – a summary of pricing (last updated June 2021) is listed below.
$82.15 + HST for a graphic plate that has two digits, the letters “GC” and then two other digits (number issued randomly by Service Ontario)
$138.65 + HST for a graphic to be added to any existing personalized licence plates that you already own (as long as it is 6 characters incl. spaces or less)
$336.40 + HST for new personalized plates with graphic and the number/words of your choice if available (as long as it is 6 characters incl. spaces or less)
Yes, the $82.15 plates are certainly the least expensive and the most popular!
Q: What about my plate sticker? What about my existing licence plates? How do I legally “register” my vehicle to use the new plates?
If you order new graphic licence plates, they will arrive in the mail from Service Ontario (usually within 4 – 6 weeks) with a plate ownership form. You then take your vehicle ownership document, your insurance pink slip (for policy info), your old plates, your new plates and the ownership form to a Service Ontario office. The agent will give you a new sticker for your new licence plates and reclaim your old plates; your ownership document will be updated if needed to show your new plate number. If your plate sticker is set to expire in the near future, the agent may suggest/require you renew your plate sticker during the same visit.
Q: Who makes money here?
A: Only the Ontario Government. No-one else (not even Geocaching HQ!) receive any money from plate sales.
Q: Are there French language version of the plate available?
A: Yes…. however…. For reasons that are completely unknown, the Ontario government didn’t ask anyone which letters to use in the middle of the French language plates. English language standard issue plates have “Yours to Discover” at the bottom and the letters “GC” in the middle.. whereas the French language plates have “Tant à découvrir” and the letters “DY” in the middle. Yes. “DY”. If you can think of a suitable French geocaching phrase that suits “DY”… we’d love to hear it….
Q: Are these plates trackable?
A: No. Sorry. We tried. One issue with the plates is that they are issued in sequence — and folks can guess what the trackable codes are; they can see one… and “Discover” them all. The other issue is that Geocaching HQ aren’t “set up” for customized/personalized tracking codes. Yet. Yeah. We know.
Some folks have paid for a personalize plate and have chosen their own trackable number as the licence plate number. It’s an expensive option – others have simply tie-wrapped a regular Travel Bug to them!
Q: Any other tips for visiting/ordering my plates?
A: Be patient….. most offices have never heard of this graphic. The geocaching plate is “Style/Graphic #0087” and it is found under “Sports and Recreation” in the Service Ontario catalogue. It might save you time to write “GRAPHIC #0087” on a sticky note when you head to Service Ontario. Take your Driver’s Licence and current copy of vehicle/plate ownership when you go to order your new plates.
It is also very important to know that there should not be a $10 fee for having your graphic plates transferred to your vehicle for the first time!
If someone at Service Ontario asks you to pay $10 — then show them the line that says “There is no administrative fee for the initial registration/initial transfer of these plates” on the sheet that was provided with your plates.
If they STILL say there’s a $10 fee – please ask them to call theService Ontario Products & Services Office !
Q: Can I buy a license plate for someone else?
Service Ontario will sell a gift certificate that can be used at any Service Ontario location towards the purchase of a Service Ontario product/service. Many locations have “appeared to be unaware” of the existence of gift certificates (they look like cheques). If you ask for a gift certificate and the response is… “uncertain” .. then the Service Ontario office can call their Kingston Hotline for instructions.
Even if you are buying a plate for someone else, they may ask for your drivers licence; this is normal as their system wishes to generate a receipt with your name and address — and their computer scans the back of your licence to obtain that information. The gift certificate needs to be for the amount of the plate (e.g. $82.15 if a regular issue plate) and it should be printed and handed to you. The gift certificate can be used at any Service Ontario office.
Q: My plate is damaged! What I do? Ontario licence plates have a 5 year manufacturers warranty (seriously!). If you experience peeling of the plastic layer of any Ontario licence plate (not just the geocaching graphic plates) in the first 5 years of ownership go to a Service Ontario office.
If a graphic plate needs to be replaced under warranty – Service Ontario will issue the next plate they have on hand.
If a personalized graphic plate needs to be replaced, Service Ontario will process an order for a new plate with your old number.