A Toronto suburb has banned the number four from new street addresses due to the superstitions of its Chinese residents, according to the YorkRegion.com.
Town Councillors in Richmond Hill also agreed to allow homeowners who currently have a number four in their addresses to apply to add a letter suffix to their addresses.
In standard Mandarin 四 (sì) is a homophone of 死 (sǐ), meaning death. In Shanghainese, 四 is a homophone of water (水, shuǐ) and is considered lucky.
One councillor, who has the excellent name Castro Liu, said that he received “non-stop calls and e-mails” about this problem. Liu said that one homeowner failed to sell his house after 10 months because his address was 44, while others in the neighbourhood sold theirs quickly.
A councillor who was against the measure, worried that changing existing addresses would be a problem for emergency services workers. Another councillor against the measure wondered how adding a letter suffix would solve the problem.
According to 2006 census data, Richmond Hill’s population is 21 percent Chinese.
YorkRegion.com claims that in China, “floor numbers often skip the number 4”, but I have personally never seen this except in Guangzhou. I’m not going to lie, though; once I was in row 44 on a transatlantic flight and I was just ever so slightly nervous, even if I do normally love to mock superstition.
Richmond Hill already bans the number 13 from addresses.
[Image credit: Ronald Rugenbrink // Via: Huffington Post]