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Creation of the Edmonton Real Estate Association

The economic upsurge of the late 1920s lasted long enough for the real estate industry in Edmonton to re-establish an association. On September 25, 1926, a meeting organized by J. D. O. Mothersill, an Edmonton lawyer, and John McIntosh, land agent for the Hudson's Bay Co., was held at the Chamber of Commerce. They discussed the idea of organizing an Edmonton real estate exchange. Andy Whyte, Percy Barager, Jack Bagley, Frank Lorimer, Elmer Pointer, George Gowan, and John Brown also attended. These men represented Whyte and Co., Bessey, Bagley and McNanus; Chauvin, Allsopp and Co.; and the General Administration Society.

The men looked at the Vancouver Real Estate Exchange as a model for this new organization. George Gowan provided information on it and circulated a copy of its constitution and bylaws. As noted in Anne Broadfoot's book (published in 1995), Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, A History of Service, 1919/1994, its members were committed to high standards of practice and to advance the interests if the City if Vancouver and greater Vancouver area and its citizens by collection and circulation of valuable and useful information pertaining to the purchase, maintenance and sale of real property. Members also agreed to oppose enactments of laws detrimental to real estate ownership. They guaranteed to subscribe funds for education to upgrade the industry, to adopt and enforce sound rules of business conduct among those engaged in real estate and to develop a strict code of ethics for the protection of the consumer of real estate services.

A committee was created to investigate the matter further. They presented a report on February 14, 1927, that suggested another form that organized real estate could take. The choice was between forming a new exchange affiliated with the National Real Estate Board, or reviving the Alberta Real Estate Association, whose present officers were residents of Calgary. (The jurisdiction of the new association was to be limited to the territory north of Red Deer.) Another committee was created to resolve the issue of how the Edmonton real estate industry should organize.

The second committee presented their report on February 28, 1927. It advised against forming a real estate exchange because of the difficulty of financing its operations and because few Edmonton real estate agents would have the time to devote to making it a success. Those present agreed with these conclusions.

As an alternative to creating an exchange, the committee recommended creating a special committee to speak to Cabinet about applying for legislation on the licensing of real estate agents. It was also recommended that representatives from Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and other communities be invited to work with the local committee to bring about the passage of this legislation.

After the committee presented its report, an ad hoc legislative committee was appointed to interview the government, and Andy Whyte was delegated to interview officials of the Alberta Real Estate Association about their opinions on this matter.

On March 15, 1927, Jack Bagley reported on the favourable reception the legislative committee had received from Attorney General John Lymburn. Given this success, the committee drafted an act for presentation to the House and hired Joseph Mothersill, of Mothersill and Dyde, to help them prepare the proposed bill. The expenses were to be covered by the Alberta Real Estate Association or by Edmonton real estate agents up to a maximum of $200.

The initial success of this committee led to the creation of the Edmonton Real Estate Association. After Jack Bagley, chairman of the Legislation Committee, made his report he also moved that a local association be formed to be known as the Edmonton Real Estate Association. This motion was carried unanimously and work began immediately to bring this about.

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.

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