The Canada Post website offers a complete directory of all Canadian postal codes, which are the Canadian equivalent of ZIP codes, including all of the Toronto metro area. By entering the recipient's address in the Find a Postal Code tool, the correct postal code will be provided.
Canadian postal codes are in an alphanumeric format; for example, M4B 1B3 is one of numerous Toronto postal codes. British and Dutch postcodes use a similar alphanumeric format. The first three digits of the postal code represent the forward sorting station, which corresponds to a particular geographical area. The last three digits of the postal code represent the local delivery unit, which corresponds to an individual or a group of addresses.
There are over 850,000 postal codes in Canada, distributed across the ten provinces and three territories, as of 2015. Use of postal zones started in Toronto in 1925, and they began use in other Canadian cities in the 1940s. In response to increasing urbanization, postal codes were implemented in 1971 in Ottawa, Ontario and rolled out to the rest of Canada by 1974.
In 1974, employees of Canada Post began responding to children's letters to Santa Claus. The volume of responses prompted an official Santa Claus response program in 1983. As a result, Santa's address was given its own postal code, H0H 0H0.