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Feature Article


Written By: Lawrence Herzog
Published By: Real Estate Weekly
Article © Copyright Lawrence Herzog

Edmonton Real Estates Golden Age

The Edmonton Real Estate Board and the Co-operative Listing Bureau moved into their new building at 10505 Princess Elizabeth Avenue in 1962. File photo.

Growth propelled Edmonton eagerly into the 1960s and, like the city itself, the Edmonton Real Estate Board was in need of more space for its roster of services and increasing membership, which surpassed 400 by 1962. The Brown Building at 9107 118th Avenue, home for the Board and the Co-operative Listing Bureau since 1958, was bursting at the seams.

In 1962, the Board and the Co-operative Listing Bureau moved into new offices at 10505 Princess Elizabeth Avenue. The new building provided room for a printing plant, mailing department and photographic darkroom. And there was space for services and gatherings " such as the many committee meetings.

That committee structure provided direction and leadership on many issues, including education, membership, legislation and ethics. The Education Committee, established in 1952, established a training program, implemented in 1956.

The program featured courses on sales techniques, appraisal, law, brokerage and ethics. This primary school made the Edmonton Real Estate Board the leader in education of its members. Requests were received from across Canada for copies of the Primary School Manual.

Out of the educational endeavours came the realization of the need for a library where Realtors could access information about the various aspects of the industry. Even though there was no room for a library in the Brown Building, the committee had foresight and began collecting books and putting them away, readying for the day when it would have library space.

Through the 1950s and 1960s, the Legislation Committee kept an eye on the Real Estate Agents" Licensing Act and monitored other legislation proposed and passed by the federal and provincial governments. The committees worked to advise all three levels of government on policies and procedures related to the real estate industry.

As more citizens sought the services of Realtors, the Edmonton Real Estate Board began to realize the need to publicize exactly who they were and what they did. It was a significant change for an organization that, since its 1927 beginnings, had functioned without most residents having any idea of its very existence.

The Edmonton Real Estate Board Co-operative Listing Bureau launched a strategy to raise the profile of the Board in the community. The process began with advertisements on Edmonton Transit buses, on billboards and with new business cards. By the 1960s, the slogan "Member Realtors Working for You" was appearing on huge billboard advertisements, reinforcing the service component of the profession and the personal touch that is the hallmark of any good Realtor.

In 1960, the Board bestowed its first REALTOR of the Year Award to George Grover, in recognition of his contribution to the Board and to the community. The Board's publication, the Edmonton Realtor, began in March 1960, as a way of communicating with its rapidly growing membership.

Other developments in the early 1960s included a move by the City of Edmonton to utilize the Edmonton Real Estate Board as a body to distribute the agent's commissions. The City felt that distribution through the Board would keep the city from getting involved in disputes among agents and would lay the groundwork for better liaisons between real estate agents and clients who came to Edmonton looking for industrial or commercial sites.

In 1967 the directors approved the formation of the Million Dollar Sales Club, which awarded points for the accumulation of $1 million in sales in three consecutive calendar years. The first club member was Fred Kurylo. As land values increased, the qualifying time period was decreased, eventually to one year by 1976.

Movers and shakers of the period included Stan Melton of Melton Real Estate and the "Melton Men" -- among them, Mark Dubord, Garf Bennett, Don E. Clark, Harold Dundas, Murray Beckhuson and Graham Downey. Then there was Jack Weber of Weber Brothers Realty; Homer Kellough of H.R. Kellough Realty and Ray Buxton of Buxton Real Estate, among many others. Into this male-dominated industry some women broke through in the 1960s, including Kitty Callaghen, Jessie Oxford-Spencer, Mabel Gordon, Ruth Thatcher and Connie Kennedy.

While new subdivisions were sprouting around the edges of the rapidly growing city, vintage neighbourhoods established in the early days of the 20th century also benefited from the growth. Thousands of new residents settled in Jasper Place and Beverly and both towns voted to amalgamate with Edmonton in 1961. Beginning with Westmount Shoppers" Park in 1955, shopping malls became a popular new amenity " they included Bonnie Doon Mall in 1958, Northgate in 1963 and Southgate in 1967.

Next week: Edmonton Real Estate in the 1970s and "80s.

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