addresses: official languages

Follow the guidelines below when translating addresses from one official language into the other. (Note that an address can often be left untranslated.)

Street types

While the official name of a thoroughfare should not be translated, words indicating a type of public thoroughfare may be translated into the other official language because they do not form part of the official name.

  • 375, rue Deschambault = 375 Deschambault Street
  • 515 Main Street = 515, rue Main (not 515, rue Principale)

When a thoroughfare name is translated from French, capitalize it in accordance with English usage:

  • 100, boulevard de Maisonneuve = 100 De Maisonneuve Boulevard

However, when the word is considered to be part of the official name of the thoroughfare (e.g. avenue preceded by a number [1re, 2e, Fifth, 25th, etc.], chaussée, chemin, montée, Circle, Square), do not translate it.

Enquiries concerning the official name of a thoroughfare should be directed to the appropriate municipality.

Note that according to Canada Post’s Addressing Guidelines, in addresses appearing on envelopes and parcels, only the terms rue (Street), avenue (Avenue) and boulevard (Boulevard) should be translated.

Municipalities

Names of municipalities should be left in their official form and not translated. Names of French municipalities should retain any accents that are part of the official name in French.

  • Saint John (Nouveau-Brunswick)
    [not Saint-Jean]
  • Montréal, Quebec
    [not Montreal]

Provinces and Territories

The names of provinces and territories are translated.

In English, a comma is used to set off a place name from that of the province or territory, whereas in French, parentheses enclose the name of the province or territory.

  • English style: Vancouver, British Columbia; Montréal, Quebec
  • French style: Vancouver (Colombie-Britannique); Montréal (Québec)

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