Civic addresses are an identification system using a consistent method to address and locate buildings. Proper addressing is absolutely essential for emergency services, postal delivery, and many other services provided by all levels of government.
Getting a Civic Number
New civic numbers are assigned during the Development Permit Application process. When the number has been assigned, the Planning & Development Department mails a notice to the owner of the property indicating the civic number. We also fax a notice to 911 notifying them of the new civic address. For this reason, it’s very important that residents don’t assign themselves a civic number – it can interfere with first responders’ ability to help you in an emergency!
Civic Address Standards
To make sure that emergency responders can reach you, we have a common set of standards for displaying civic numbers. If you own the lot on which a building is located, you must keep the assigned civic number posted on the lot or building in the following manner:
- The civic number shall be in Arabic numerals (e.g. 123)
- The bottom of the numeral shall be at least 1.2 meters above ground
- The colour of each numeral shall be the same as the others, and clearly in contrast to the colour of the building, post or sign on which it is located
- The height of the numerals shall not be less than 100 millimeters
- The civic number shall be placed upon the building, post, or sign so that it faces towards (and is clearly visible from) the roadway or the street from which it is numbered.
For more complete information, the Civic Addressing By-Law is available for download on our By-Laws page.
When a call is placed to 911, the caller's phone number, civic address, and associated Police, Fire, and Ambulance Emergency responders are listed on the 911 screen (unless the call is made from a cell phone). Under this system, even if you can’t speak when calling 911, the 911 operator can still see your civic address and send emergency responders. 911 is also able to handle TDD calls from hearing-impaired people.
The 911 center does not dispatch emergency services – instead, the operator links the caller to the appropriate dispatch agency who will dispatch the required services. As always, make sure you can be found in an emergency by posting your civic number where it can be seen clearly from the road, day or night.