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1.09 Geographical names

The names of provinces, territories and districts may be abbreviated when they follow the name of a city, town, village or geographical feature:

  • Wawa, Ont.
  • Mount Robson, B.C.

It is not necessary to use the provincial abbreviation after the names of well-known cities such as Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Fredericton. However, since the same name is often shared by several places in Canada and other parts of the English-speaking world (e.g. Perth, Windsor, Hamilton), add the appropriate abbreviation in cases where doubt could arise.

The following abbreviations are used officially for the names of provinces and territories in Canada. The right-hand column lists the two-character symbols recommended by Canada Post for use with mailing addresses. For other purposes, use the traditional provincial abbreviations:

Province Traditional Canada Post
Alberta Alta. AB
British Columbia B.C. BC
Manitoba Man. MB
New Brunswick N.B. NB
Newfoundland and Labrador N.L. NL
Northwest Territories N.W.T. NT
Nova Scotia N.S. NS
Nunavut See note NU
Ontario Ont. ON
Prince Edward Island P.E.I. PE
Quebec Que. QC
Saskatchewan Sask. SK
Yukon Territory Y.T. YT


A territory known as Nunavut was established under the Statutes of Canada, Bill C-132, assented to on June 10, 1993. The Act came into force on April 1, 1999. Nunavut consists of the eastern part of the Northwest Territories. Although the traditional abbreviation has not yet been officially established, the Translation Bureau recommends Nun.

Do not abbreviate words such as County, Fort, Mount, North, Point, Island, Port and Saint used as part of a proper noun, unless the official name for the location shows the abbreviated form:

  • Port Radium
  • Fort Garry
  • Point Pelee
  • Sable Island
  • St. John’s, N.L.
  • Saint John, N.B.

For further information on the official form of geographical names, see Chapter 15 Geographical Names.