Perfect Your Postal Code Search

Perfect Your Postal Code Search Google vs. Canada Post vs. Polaris

What do you think of when someone mentions a postal code? Most people think about their home postal code, which tends to stay the same for the entire time they live there. Most postal codes are static, but there is a small fraction of postal codes that do change (about ~0.5% per year). These changes occur due to new developments!

Looking at development trends in Toronto – we can see an increase in new developments from the city core to the suburbs over the past 60+ years. Otherwise known as urbanization or urban sprawl.

 

  • Toronto Number of Dwelling Age 60+ at FSA level (2021). This shows Toronto's development over the last few decades.
  • Toronto Number of Dwelling Age 40-60 at FSA level (2021). This shows Toronto's development over the last few decades.
  • Toronto Number of Dwelling Age 30-40 at FSA level (2021). This shows Toronto's development over the last few decades.
  • Toronto Number of Dwelling Age 20-30 at FSA level (2021). This shows Toronto's development over the last few decades.
  • Toronto Number of Dwelling Age 10-20 at FSA level (2021). This shows Toronto's development over the last few decades.
  • Toronto Number of Dwelling Age Less than 10 at FSA level (2021). This shows Toronto's development over the last few decades.

These images demonstrate the shift of locations for dwellings that are less than 10 years old to 60+ years old at FSA level. Developments generally shift from the city core of Toronto outwards to more suburban areas over the decades. The dark red areas are where the highest number of dwellings for the dwelling age group are located. (Stay tuned for our future blog post on this topic!)

 

 

To accommodate these new developments, hundreds of postal codes are added, retired or reused every month! In the past year, 3,445 new postal codes were created or became populated and 778 were retired!

What does this mean for Polaris users? Occasionally, you may run into postal codes that are not on Polaris but on Google or vice versa due to their turnover.

In this post, we will outline a method for you to easily find the right postal code for any address. This will ensure you gather the correct insights on Polaris!

Find the Right Postal Code

Canada Post Corporation defines all postal codes within Canada and assigns them to addresses. To keep Polaris current, we receive monthly data updates from Canada Post, and implement these postal code changes into the app.

If you run into a mismatch between Google and Polaris, we recommend using Canada Post’s Address Complete tool to verify the postal code for your address!

Let’s walk through an example to show you what to do if you encounter this situation:

Say you need to find the postal code for Shops at Morgan Crossing. Let’s search the address of the location (“15765 Croydon Drive”) on Google to find the postal code. Google provides “V3S 2L6”.

The Shops at Morgan Crossing as Seen on Google Maps. This postal code is actually wrong

Now, let’s try to search this postal code from Google on Polaris. Whoops error encountered, this postal code does not register to any address!

Searching Google's Postal Code for Morgan Crossing on Polaris. Because the postal code that Google shows does not exist, Polaris does not show it.

To verify the right postal code, we will use Canada Post’s Address Complete tool!

To use this tool, type in the address that you want to retrieve the postal code for. So in this case, it is “15765 Croydon Drive”.

Searching Morgan Crossing with Canada Post. Canada Post will know the correct postal code since Canada Post defines the postal code.

Canada Post populates a postal code of “V3Z 2L6” for this address.

The most accurate postal code is the one Canada Post provides. If you search the Canada Post postal code on Polaris, it displays the accurate location for this address. Problem solved!

Searching Canada Posts's Postal Code for Morgan Crossing on Polaris. This postal code exists on Polaris because it is valid and correct.

In the example above, we verified the postal code that Google gave us for a certain address. Occasionally, when you search an address on Google, Google might not find it. How do you find the postal code now? You can use the Address Complete tool once again!

For example, if you type “60 Summit Crescent, Belleville” into Google, you’ll notice that it does not retrieve any registered locations.

60 Summit Crescent Does Not Exist for Google. Google is good and useful, but sometimes a little outdated.

Although Google does not recognize the address, it does in fact exist. If you search the same address on Canada Post’s Address Complete tool, it will provide you with a 6-digit postal code.

60 Summit Crescent Exists for Canada Post

We can find the postal code Canada Post provides (K8N 0A2) on Polaris in the proper location for the address!

Postal Code for 60 Summit Crescent Exists for Polaris. Polaris uses the right postal codes.

The postal codes on Polaris are more closely aligned with those from the Address Complete tool than those on Google. So if you run into a discrepancy between Polaris and Google, it is best to verify the postal code for your address with Canada Post’s tool for the most accurate search on Polaris.

What Now?

You now have the resources needed to perfect your search on Polaris at the postal code level!

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Don’t have Polaris yet but you’re interested in learning more? We are more than happy to meet with you, connect with us here!