postal code canada

What Is Postal Code and What Is Its Significance?

If you have ever written a postal address, you know that there is a specific code mentioned at the kết thúc. But, what is meant by postal code? Such codes represent the geographic areas of addresses and help the concerned postal services deliver mail vĩ đại them.

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Postal Code Targeting

They can contain alphabets, numbers, or both. Courier companies and postal organizations use postal codes vĩ đại sort their mail items in an automated way, speeding up delivery.

With increasing global trade and eCommerce, postal codes have become more important than vãn ever. Hence, you should know what is postal code and how vĩ đại use it.

Postal codes work differently in every country and they all have their own postal system. In this blog, we will talk about Canadian postal codes, what they represent, and how you can find your postal code.

Postal Codes in Canada

Canadian postal codes contain six characters and size an integral part of postal addresses in Canada. Similar vĩ đại Dutch, British, and Irish postcodes, they are alphanumeric. These codes are divided into two parts with a space separating them. The format followed is A1A 1A1 with A being an alphabet and 1 being a number.

If you are wondering “what is my postal code Canada?” you can tìm kiếm it on Canada Post’s trang web and application for không tính phí. Or buy CD-ROMs and hard-copy directories at the post office.

Postal codes in Canada change at every block and are assigned vĩ đại all street sides. Even two next-door neighbours might have different postal codes owing vĩ đại this reason. Businesses that receive a lot of mail every day are likely vĩ đại have their own postal codes. Hence, there are hundreds of thousands of postal codes all across Canada.

Canadian postal codes are often compared vĩ đại ZIP codes in the US. They bởi the same job but there are a lot of differences. One US ZIP code covers around 100,000 mailing addresses. However, only a single Canadian postal code is assigned vĩ đại one side of one street. It is why there are about 876,445 postal codes and only 41,692 ZIP codes.

Read More: How To Write An Address International

The History of Canada Postal Codes

Introduction of Postal Zones

Numbered postal codes date back vĩ đại 1925 when they were introduced in Toronto for the first time. For example, if you needed vĩ đại mail vĩ đại an address in zone 4, it was written in the below address format:

71 Edgemont Way South

Toronto 4, Ontario

In 1943, Toronto was segmented into 14 zones and numbered from 1 vĩ đại 15. The numbers 7 and 11 remained unused. In 1944, Montreal also saw the implementation of postal zones.

Later, other Canadian cities were also split into postal zones, inclusive of Vancouver, Ottawa, Quebec, and Winnipeg. The addresses in these cities were also written with one-digit zone codes.

However, in the late 1960s, Canada Post introduced the three-digit code system replacing the earlier one-digit and two-digit zone codes. It was first implemented in major cities lượt thích Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Find below an example of an address in Vancouver with this new system:

862 Kinniburgh Blvd

Vancouver 106, Alberta

But, this three-digit zone number scheme was short-lived as Postmaster General Eric Kierans soon announced that they are cancelling it and introducing a new national postal code system.

Planning of the New Postal Code System

Canadian cities started growing in the 1950s and 1960s leading vĩ đại massive growth in the mail volume passing throughout the country. The volume grew from billions of mail items vĩ đại tens of billions in no time.

As a result, it became difficult for postal services vĩ đại hand-sort mail and remember all the carrier routes within cities. It added a lot of pressure on the employees vĩ đại get the deliveries completed on time.

In 1969, the House of Commons discussed the potential impact of environmental change on Canada Post’s operations in the next 25 years. It was suggested that the post office should begin using automation and mechanization vĩ đại giảm giá khuyến mãi with the growing mail volume and improve delivery efficiency. And that’s when the postal code design was first talked about.

Finally, Eric Keirancs announced the introduction of a six-digit postal code system in December 1969. This system completely replaced the three-digit zone number system. Later in February 1970, he tabled a report named “A Canadian Public Address Postal Coding System” put forward by Samson, Belair, Simpson, Riddell Inc.


Before introducing the postal code system nationwide, it was first tested on 1st April 1974 in Ottawa. It was then accompanied by a provincial-level rollout in Manitoba.

The system was then gradually implemented in the remaining provinces and territories between 1972 and 1974. However, the use of this new system was still 38.2% by the time 1974 ended.

It helped Canada Post handle around 26,640 items per hour using sorting machines. The organization was now able vĩ đại complete deliveries in less time and in a more efficient manner.

Eventually, companies also found it easier vĩ đại complete orders on time and expand their operations.

But, the system got strong pushback from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. The reason was that workers who still sorted mail by hand received more wages than vãn those who ran the automated mail machines.

The Union also declared a National “Boycott the Postal Code” Day on 20th March 1975 which did not go on for long enough.

The boycott was struck off in 1976, and the Canadian postal code system was fully implemented in the country by then. It was among the last code systems vĩ đại be implemented in the West.

Also Read: Address Lookup API for businesses

Components of Canadian Postal Codes

Now that you know the history, it is important vĩ đại understand its components. You can refer vĩ đại the image below for a better understanding:

Forward Sortation Areas (FSAs)

FSAs make the first part of the Canadian postal code format. Basically, a forward sortation area is a region wherein all postal codes begin with the same three characters. For example, M4B in Toronto covers at least 600 geographical areas. All of these areas come under the same FSA.

The first character (an alphabet) of the FSA code indicates specific “postal districts,” which cover an entire province or territory. However, Quebec and Ontario are divided into several postal districts as they are large provinces.

Quebec has a total of three postal districts, while Ontario has five. Both of these provinces have at least one very populous urban area vĩ đại have a dedicated postal district (“M” for Toronto and “H” for Montreal).

On the other hand, some places with low populations shared postal districts. For example, the Northwest Territories (NWT) and Nunavut continue vĩ đại share the same postal district even after their separation in 1999.

Coming vĩ đại the second character (a number) of the FSA, it primarily identifies areas as urban or rural. All rural regions have the number 0, whereas all other numbers denote urban regions.

The third character (an alphabet again), in combination with the other two characters, identifies a more accurate geographical district. It represents a section of a large metropolitan area, a medium-sized đô thị, or a particular rural region.

Local Delivery Units (LDUs)

The last three characters of the postal code stand for an LDU which may denote a single address or a group of addresses.

An LDU can correspond to:

  • Entire small towns
  • Important areas of medium-sized towns
  • Single sides of đô thị blocks in large cities
  • Single large buildings
  • Parts of very large buildings
  • Large institutions lượt thích hospitals and universities
  • Businesses that receive large mail volumes regularly

As you can see, even single places or small units of these places can have LDU codes. So, it is not surprising that Canada has hundreds of thousands of LDUs.

The LDU code 9Z9 is exclusively assigned for Business Reply Mail. All LDU codes ending in zero are assigned vĩ đại postal facilities including sortation plants, small post offices, and retail postal outlets.

Note that postal codes use only đôi mươi alphabets; the alphabets D, F, I, O, Q, and U are never included.

Also Read: Postal Services Canada: How Do They Work and How vĩ đại Maximize Effectiveness?

Importance of Postal Codes in Canada

With the increase in global trade, postal codes are now more important than vãn ever. The international logistics and shipping industry is completely dependent on mailing addresses with accurate postal codes.

Writing correct postal codes help the postal workers deliver your mail pieces without any delays, errors, or damages. It helps make the process more efficient and fast.

Using postal codes, a company director in UAE can send something vĩ đại an investor in Canada or vice versa. Or, a Canadian company can expand its operations nationally. The point is that postal codes simplify mailing.

Postal codes are also used as social or demographic identifiers. They can differentiate between urban and rural areas.

This information can be used by decision-makers of various companies. Postal codes can help them make decisions lượt thích where vĩ đại open a franchise or where vĩ đại promote their services.

Without this knowledge, many businesses might kết thúc up making the wrong decisions lượt thích advertising in the wrong areas or opening a store where the population is very low.

Importance of Postal Codes in Canada

Postal codes are mainly important for mail items vĩ đại reach the correct addresses. However, you need vĩ đại write down other parts of mailing addresses correctly as well.

Find the postal address format as prescribed by Canada Post below:

For domestic addresses-

Jacob Mikaelson

16A Bay ST

Wolfville NS  B4P 1L6

For international addresses-

Howard Doherty

770 Carnaby St

London, W1F 9PS

United Kingdom

As mentioned above, the name of the recipient always comes on the first line. If you are mailing vĩ đại a business, add the company name on the second line.

Then, write the delivery address on the next line. This line consists of your apartment number and the street name. Don’t forget vĩ đại include the street directions. Make sure vĩ đại use the right abbreviations for words lượt thích street (ST), circle (CIR), and avenue (AVE).

The next line is also the last line of a Canadian postal address. Write the đô thị name followed by the state abbreviation and the mailing postal code.

Note that there should be two spaces left between the state abbreviations and postal codes. For reference, find a list of the state abbreviations below:

Province Postal Abbreviations
Alberta AB
British Columbia BC
Manitoba MB
New Brunswick NB
Newfoundland and Labrador NL
Nova Scotia NS
Ontario ON
Prince Edward Island PE
Quebec QC
Saskatchewan SK
Northwest Territories NT
Nunavut NU
Yukon YT

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As for international addresses, the only major difference is that you should write the country name on the last line.

Find below some additional Canada Post address guidelines vĩ đại avoid surcharges and delays:

  • Always write the street address in capital letters
  • Never put a hyphen between the FSA and LDU codes of a postal code. Also, use capital letters for the same
  • Don’t use punctuation marks unless for names lượt thích “St. Charles”
  • Write the return address in the same format as the mailing address and place it on the top-left corner of the envelope

Urbanization of Rural Postal Codes

Canada Post uses the term “urbanization” vĩ đại the process of converting rural postal codes into urban. As we discussed above, the second character of the code of rural areas is zero. In this process, this character is changed into another number.

The vacated postal code of the concerned rural area can be reassigned vĩ đại another area or retired.

When the population of rural regions reaches a certain number, Canada Post decides vĩ đại urbanize that region. There are several r factors other than vãn the population that is considered while urbanizing areas.

For example, the postal code G0N 3M0 (assigned vĩ đại Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, Lac-Saint-Joseph, and Fossambault-Sur-le-Lac, Quebec) was urbanized in 2008 and changed vĩ đại G3N 3M0.

Santa Claus

If you are discussing Canadian postal codes, talking about Santa Claus is a must. The tradition of writing letters vĩ đại Santa Claus is quite famous in Canada, sánh much sánh that Canada Post decided vĩ đại come up with an address for Santa.

In 1974, the Canada Post workers noticed that many letters were addressed vĩ đại Santa Claus. Apparently, these letters were considered undeliverable.

Finally, Canada Post launched an official letter-response program for Santa Claus in 1983. By the kết thúc of 2011, 11,000 volunteers helped Canada Post handle all these letters across multiple locations in Canada.

Around 1,000,000 letters are written vĩ đại Santa Claus each year, inclusive of some sent from outside Canada. All of these letters are answered by the volunteers in the same language they were written in.

A special mailing address was introduced for the same along with a unique postal code:




In french, it can be written as:




The postal code H0H 0H0 has a special meaning. Firstly, it sounds lượt thích “HO HO HO” which is enough vĩ đại give it the Christmas feel. The second character “0” stands for a rural delivery area and the “H” indicates the postal district of Montreal.

Canadian Forces Postal Services

Canada Post uses three special postal codes vĩ đại convert civilian mail vĩ đại mail handled by the Canadian Forces Postal Service.

All these three codes belong vĩ đại the military post offices in Canada itself. Depending on the kết thúc destination, these codes are:

  • B3K 5X5 (NS): the Fleet Mail Offices (FMO) in Halifax
  • V9A 7N2 (BC): FMO in Victoria
  • K8N 5W6 (ON): the Canadian Forces Post Office (CFPO) in Belleville

All of these postal codes represent a group of international military post offices, which are indicated by FMO or CPFO numbers instead of postal codes.

In this case, LDUs bởi not correspond vĩ đại physical addresses, but rather represent virtual delivery units. This is because mail items are not delivered locally, but forwarded vĩ đại the delivery units of Canadian military bases vĩ đại ship abroad.

Find below an example:

Name of the Addressee

Slot #

PO Box 4829 Stn Forces

Victoria BC  V9A 7N2


In the above example, the postal services will deliver the mail vĩ đại FMO in Victoria. Then, the Canadian Forces Postal System will further deliver it vĩ đại the recipient at FMO 4829. All such deliveries are completed as per the timing and means deemed fit by the military.

Difference Between ZIP Codes and Postal Codes

ZIP is the abbreviation of Zone Improvement Plan. In 1963, the US introduced the concept of ZIP codes vĩ đại facilitate mailing across the country. It was first used post World War 2 due vĩ đại the increase in population and mail stream.

Primarily, ZIP codes are used vĩ đại identify delivery locations vĩ đại deliver letters and packages. They divide regions into smaller geographical areas such as landmarks, businesses, or residential areas.

Earlier, ZIP codes had only 5 digits. But, later on, the USPS decided vĩ đại add 4 more digits vĩ đại improve deliverability. With the passing years, companies started using ZIP codes for various purposes lượt thích data verification and sánh on.

There is a very thin line between ZIP codes and postal codes. Both are important vĩ đại determine the delivery location and tốc độ up the process. Furthermore, they are also useful in gathering demographic information about a region.

Now, let us find out what is difference between ZIP code and postal code.


ZIP codes are a group of 9 numbers that are simply a postal system used by the USPS vĩ đại identify locations and complete deliveries.

Postal codes are a string of 6 characters that help Canada Post vĩ đại track postal addresses and deliver mail vĩ đại them.

Year of Introduction 

ZIP codes were introduced in 1963, whereas postal codes were implemented in 1959.


The main motive for using ZIP codes is vĩ đại determine the region mentioned in the address and reach there at the earliest.

Postal codes are used for much more than vãn that. They also help in the census and carrier route planning.


ZIP codes are used only in two countries around the world: the US and the Philippines.

Postal codes are used in all countries except the two mentioned above. Hence, in the postal code vs. ZIP code debate, it is clear that postal code systems are more popularly accepted and used.


ZIP codes contain only numbers. They are used in the format 11111 1111. The last four numbers are also called ZIP+4 codes.

Postal codes are alphanumeric and are written in the format A1A 1A1.

What is the ZIP Code of Canada and What Is My 5 Digit ZIP Code Canada?

Some people ask what is the ZIP code of Canada. But, there are absolutely no ZIP codes in Canada. The postal code system is an alternative vĩ đại the ZIP-code system used in the US.

However, there is one way you can find out the ZIP code of a Canadian address. If you are prompted vĩ đại enter a ZIP code on a trang web or anywhere else, use this method:

Enter the three numbers in your postal code along with two zeros. For example, if it is A0H 9Z9, your ZIP code would be 09900.

It can also be referred vĩ đại as your postal code number. So, if you are thinking about what is my postal code number, use this way of conversion.

Then again, others ask what is the postal code for Canada. As we said above, Canada has 876,445 active codes. There is no single postal code that applies vĩ đại the entire country, helping people in Canada and outside mail vĩ đại Canadian addresses efficiently.

If you simply want vĩ đại find your Canadian postal code, click here.

How Can PostGrid Help You?

Postal codes are an important aspect of address verification. They help companies maintain cleansed and updated mailing lists vĩ đại be used for several reasons.

Correction of Errors

Postal codes help you correct errors lượt thích typos and misspellings by identifying the exact locations. For example, if your user enters “George ST” instead of “George ST,” the postal code can help you know where the user is actually located.

PostGrid uses postal codes vĩ đại employ fuzzy logic and modify incorrect abbreviations, acronyms, and sánh on.

Address Standardization

Standardizing addresses is essential vĩ đại write down an address correctly. Canada Post has laid down many address guidelines and specifications vĩ đại help their workers sort their mail properly.

Postal codes make it possible vĩ đại standardize addresses the right way. If they are incorrect or missing, PostGrid’s address validation API can bởi the needful.

Verifying Deliverability

PostGrid also uses postal codes vĩ đại verify whether your mailing addresses are deliverable.

Even a small error in your postal code can lead vĩ đại your address being marked as invalid. So, our address verification software and API first makes these corrections and then continue vĩ đại validate your addresses.

Translate Addresses

You no longer need vĩ đại think twice before sending mail abroad. PostGrid can transliterate international addresses for you and also standardize them in the destination country’s format.

Postal codes not only tell you the country or state in which an address is situated, but also the exact part of an exact đô thị. This information is crucial in both domestic and international address validation.

Identifying Nhái Accounts

Some people cửa hàng on various websites using kém chất lượng or imaginary addresses. Mailing vĩ đại these addresses can lead vĩ đại the wastage of time, effort, and resources.

PostGrid can help companies filter out such kém chất lượng accounts by checking the mailing addresses provided by them.

Print and Mail

Apart from postal code lookup and address verification, PostGrid offers automated print and mail services. Hence, you can design, print, and mail your postcards and letters with us efficiently.


ZIP codes and postal codes are very important in the postal system of every county around the globe. They make our lives easier and help us mail anything vĩ đại anyone.

This way, these codes bring the world closer and give rise vĩ đại various opportunities.

With PostGrid, you no longer have vĩ đại think about “what is the postal code of my location?” We can help you find your postal code along with all the postal codes of those addresses where you wish vĩ đại mail.

Verify your postal codes with PostGrid and deliver mail on time. Sign up here and get started now!