Real Estate and the Railway Boom 1900-1913
The 1882 boom in Edmonton real estate caused by the anticipated arrival of the CPR gave Edmontonians a glimpse of the future.
During this period Edmontonians switched from protecting their claims to land speculation, as the construction of two transcontinental railways served as the basis for other investments. The excesses of this period, however, would give the real estate industry a reputation for dishonesty that would take years to overcome.
The railway boom of 1903 to 1913 was like the 1882 boom only it lasted longer and brought more permanent benefits to the city.
Organized real estate made a brief appearance in the form of the Edmonton Real Estate Exchange. While it had a minimal impact on the industry, it did introduce the idea of multiple listings and some administrative procedures that would be incorporated into future organizations. It was to that extent the precursor of the present Edmonton Real Estate Board. Some of the Exchange's members continued to be active in later associations. This personal link with the past would be maintained by individuals such as H. Milton Martin and H. M. E. Evans.
While the evils of land speculation were widely debated, the government was slow in dealing with the problem. The attempts to control land speculation were minimal and were introduced only after the collapse of the boom.
This article is extracted from John Gilpin, Responsible Enterprise: A History of Edmonton Real Estate & the Edmonton Real Estate Board. (Edmonton: Edmonton Real Estate Board, 1997). The Heritage Community Foundation and the Alberta Real Estate Foundation would like to thank John Gilpin and the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton for permission to reproduce this material.