Can't recall if this was law when I lived in Vancouver during the mid/late 70's but it was when I moved to Nova Scotia in the early 80's when it was required to have a front plate. I didn't use a front plate for the 20 years that it was required and got 2 tickets (they changed the law here about 4-5 years ago so no front plate is required
). Both were when I was pulled over for something else (speeding IIRC), not for the lack of a plate.
I know NS is different than BC, but I found something that eliminated the problem here and would likely have similar success most places.
In 1987 I bought a new car that had just landed (Halifax is the landing point for most cars from Germany/overseas) and had it rushed into service so I could use it for my vacation. There was no front plate bracket with the car so the dealership had to order one from Germany and when I got back from vacation, they called to setup an appointment to install it. I really didn't want a front plate so I just went in and picked up the bracket from the dealer and put it along with the front plate in the trunk.
I was pulled over a year later in the city for a "spot check" that the police were conducting. They were checking for expired registrations, etc. They had it setup so you couldn't see them until it was too late to turn off, this also meant that if you were speeding to any degree (I was doing about 90-100 km/h in a 50 km/h zone
) you were right on top of them before you saw them. I couldn't stop quickly enough for the cop who was standing in the middle of my lane and he had to move out of the way. To say he wasn't impressed with me would be a gross understatement. He started yelling at me about my speed and that if he'd had a radar gun I'd be walking. So he definitely was primed to nail me on anything he could. All my paperwork was in order, but then he said, "I'm going to give you a ticket for no front plate". I got out of the car and pulled out the plate from the trunk and the bracket. I then told him that the car had been delivered without it and that they'd had to order one which never arrived until the 3rd request. I'd just gotten the plate and was on my way that day to see if the dealer could install it. I didn't get a ticket. That doesn't mean someone else wouldn't but it did save me a fine.