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Where can I find the shapefiles for Canadian postal codes?

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7 Answers 7

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Note that the Postal Code Conversion files will be freely available as of Oct 24, 2012 as per the new data freedom initiative. See here for details.

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Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case. The PCCF is still on the road map, but is currently excluded from the open data license: statcan.gc.ca/reference/exceptions-eng.html –  JasonBirch Dec 8 '12 at 9:59
    
This data is now available, see my post below. –  Yarx Mar 20 '13 at 16:25

Canadian postal codes are not available for free download. You can either purchase the PostCode Conversion File from Statistics Canada or one of many value-added data sets from providers like DMTI Spatial.

The lack of freely available PostCode data for Canada is a huge hindrance to business.

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Heh @el chief. You're referring to the Data Liberation Initiative (which isn't). There are pretty strict rules on what you're allowed to use the data for under that agreement. statcan.gc.ca/dli-ild/guide-trousse/guide-trousse/toc-tdm/… –  JasonBirch Jul 22 '10 at 20:25
    
Wow, bummer! Doesn't Canada have a FOIA equivalent :) –  John Weldon Jul 22 '10 at 20:51
    
@John Weldon yes, there is FOI, but that doesn't allow you to use the material counter to crown copyright rules. It all sucks. –  JasonBirch Jul 22 '10 at 20:55

A list of all Canadian postal codes (includes city, province, latitude, longitude) is available here:

http://geocoder.ca/?freedata=1

Geocoder collected the postal codes by crowd-sourcing.

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Hey, that's cool. Wonder if there are any academics out there that have done a comparison between this and the PCCF. –  JasonBirch Jul 26 '10 at 5:19

UPDATE: Stats Canada has since released the Forward Sortation Areas Boundry files (as of February 5, 2013 according to their site). I'm downloading it now to try it out, feel free to check it out yourself and use the new data.

Download Page for all Census Boundary Files

2011 Canada FSA Boundary File - Full Product Details


Statistics Canada has a page dedicated to making available different Shape files regarding Canadian Boundaries, both Geographical and Digital.

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/bound-limit/bound-limit-eng.cfm

While they make no mention of one specific to every possible Postal Code (nor do I think you're very likely to find one), they do list one for the FSAs but it does not as of yet have a release date.

If you only need the geographic center of the postalcodes however (instead of the boundary), check out the free database at http://geocoder.ca/. You can obtain the approx center of the FSA from this as well by grouping them by the first three digits of the PostalCode and then averaging the Latitude/Longitude. SQL would help do this much easier if you import the data into a database first.

Here's a query do do what I mean.

IF NOT EXISTS(SELECT * FROM zipcodeset WHERE LEN(PostalCode) = 3)
BEGIN
    INSERT INTO zipcodeset(PostalCode, Latitude, Longitude)
    SELECT LEFT(PostalCode,3), Avg(Latitude), Avg(Longitude)
    FROM zipcodeset
    GROUP BY LEFT(PostalCode,3)
END

I'm waiting for those FSA Boundary shape files to be released as well so if you see them get published to that site please post a reply here so we can amend the answer. They are now published

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you can purchase Canadian Postal Codes and FSA Boundaries from Geografx Digital Mapping Services info@geografx.ca , www.geografx.ca or www.geografx.com

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There are commercial available canada postal code data as well, they are usually more precise and up to date. Can refer to IGEOCODE postal code products at http://www.igeocode.com/products/capostalcodes/demo/

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According to the demo on that page, the Premium edition does include Latitude and Longitude however none of the editions have any polygon shape data. Depends on how business critical it is to have precise coordinates for postal codes. If you don't necessarily need a local copy of the database, online Geocoding services like developers.google.com/maps/documentation/geocoding will do the trick too –  Yarx Jul 11 '12 at 23:44

The FSA shapefiles are up now at http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/bound-limit/bound-limit-2011-eng.cfm I just downloaded them, now only if there was an LDU shapefile available...

EDIT:

Here is a picture of the LDU shapefile loaded in QGIS and zoomed into Stanley Park in Vancouver BC: LDU shapefile of Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC

The data is available through the Platinum Postal Suite, v2008.3, 2008 which I was able to access through my university account. The LDU data is for all of Canada and is broken up into a per province structure, unfortunately you have to download all of them at the same time though which makes it larger than 1 gb...

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you can find the FSA at the above link, and if you have access to the Platinum Postal Suite, v2008.3, 2008 you can also attain the LDU polygons. –  Chewy Mar 20 '13 at 19:09

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