Canadians have a civic address that they may occasionally need.
Of course, most Canadians would have no problem stating their mailing address when asked.
But if someone asked you what your civic address was, what would you tell them?
A part of your civic address includes your civic number.
So, let’s break down how it all works.
What is a Civic Number?
A civic number is a number assigned to a property by a municipal government.
Every property, whether residential, commercial or otherwise, has a civic number.
Most of the time, this number will match the number on the mailing address.
However, there are some exceptions.
Your civic number is a part of your civic address, which is also often referred to as your ’911 address’.
Your civic number is attached to that address and is used for several functions:
- Some companies, particularly in the utilities sector, use civic numbers.
- More importantly, 911 operators use your civic address when locating your home
Civic numbers vary in terms of length and patterns.
Each province has its own way of breaking down civic numbers.
In any case, knowing your civic number is important.
If you have an emergency or if one of your home’s utilities fails suddenly, your civic number quickly becomes more important.
Emergency response organizations suggest you keep your civic number clearly displayed somewhere outside your home.
You will want to have it readily seen in the case of an emergency.
Any difficulty identifying your civic address could be dangerous during an emergency.
How to Find Your Civic Number?
You can find your civic number by contacting your local government office.
Normally, the planning offices of municipalities manage the civic numbering system and have the fastest access to your civic number.
If you’re unsure of where to go or how to reach your municipal government for your civic number, you can contact your provincial public service agency.
However, they will normally just direct you to your municipal government office.
In some cases, there may be an easier option.
Canadian GIS offers a civic address finder offered through an interactive map.
You may be able to find civic addresses there.
Lastly, emergency management organizations such as Emergency Management Ontario may also be able to assist you.
Civic Number vs. Street Number
Your civic number is a combination of your building number, street, and your lowest-level locality.
Your locality may be a municipal ward or your county.
35 Queen Street W
A street number is the number that describes where a property is located on a given street.
Your civic number will normally be the same, but there are occasional exceptions.
Your civic address is the physical address, but without your mailing information (postal code).
In the above example, you would add the postal code below Toronto, ON, for a complete mailing address.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do you write a civic address?
The pattern for a civic address is:
[STREET NUMBER] [STREET NAME], [APARTMENT NUMBER] (if applicable)
[MUNICIPALITY], [PROVINCE CODE]
There is no need to display any other information, as your civic code is purely a municipal planning measure. The information is not intended to facilitate mailing.
- Is a civic number the same as a street number?
Normally, yes. However, there is a crucial difference in the way civic addresses and mailing addresses are used.
Your mailing address is assigned by Canada Post and is used when sending or receiving mail. It includes the same information as your civic address, but also your postal code and, when applicable, “Canada” at the end.
Your civic address is assigned by your local municipality and includes only the physical address (what is needed to locate your home). Your civic address is used by emergency responders and some utility providers.