Written by


A.E. LePage at his desk.

A.E. LePage at his desk



Albert E. (“Eddie”) LePage became the first full-time Canadian real estate sales representative in 1913, launching what is now a network of more than 14,000 sales representatives in 600 locations across Canada.

The company motto isHelping you is what we do. The corporate culture is based on collaboration, service and support and its sales representatives are committed to providing clients with the best service possible, even when it means going well beyond the call of duty, the company says. Royal LePage values also include a long-standing commitment to support Canadian communities through its charitable foundation, The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.

Through the contributions of its sales representatives, brokers and staff, the foundation raises funds to support local women’s shelters, provide grants in partnership with the Canadian Women’s Foundation, and sponsors violence prevention programs. Since 1999, the foundation has raised more than $14 million and is the largest corporate foundation in Canada dedicated solely to helping women to live safer, healthier lives.

Back in 1913, A.E. LePage revolutionized the Canadian real estate industry by being the first to have outbound property showings by automobile, detailed description listings in newspapers, and by using film to showcase fine homes.

Here are some of the other memorable Royal LePage moments during the years, compiled from REM files and information supplied by the company:

The 1970s – A.E. LePage becomes a national real estate company, acquiring smaller companies across Canada and adding new services. It launches the Carriage Trade luxury properties program, the Town and Country Catalogue, and the quarterly Survey of Canadian House Prices.

1984 – A.E. LePage merges with the real estate arm of Royal Trust to form Royal LePage, making it the largest real estate brokerage company in the country.

1994 – Toronto real estate company Johnston & Daniel joins Royal LePage.

1995 – Royal LePage launches, which received more than a million hits per month and in 1996 wins the bronze Ace award for Advertising Creative Excellence in Interactive Mass Media class.

1997 – The company introduces “virtual reality” tours on its website.

1998 – Royal LePage acquires Realty World Canada. “Franchising is no longer a dirty word at Royal LePage,” says president Simon Dean.

1998 – Royal LePage launches the Shelter Foundation, providing financial support to over 150 local women’s shelters and offering education on violence prevention. The Royal LePage Intranet also launches in April featuring a referral directory, art gallery, chat rooms and more.

2003 – The Royal LePage Franchise Services Fund is listed on the TSX. Royal LePage acquires Groupe Trans-Action, a Quebec Realty firm with over 80 offices.

2007 – Brookfield Real Estate Services, owner of the Royal LePage Real Estate network, acquires Quebec-based La Capitale Real Estate Network, Quebec’s fourth largest real estate franchise services company with 68 locations serviced by 1,492 agents.

2011 – Brookfield Residential Property Services acquires the real estate and relocation assets of Prudential Financial Inc. Under a licensing agreement, Prudential real estate brokerage franchisees may continue to use the Prudential brand. Over the coming months, several Prudential franchises join the Royal LePage network.

2012 – Royal LePage launches a new commercial division, less than 10 years after its former commercial operation was sold to Cushman Wakefield. The division includes stand-alone commercial offices and commercial divisions within existing Royal LePage offices.

Royal LePage Trivia

A.E. LePage sold his first family home for $6,500 on Thorold Avenue in Toronto.

A.E. LePage renamed Keele Street in High Park to Parkside Drive when he was having difficulty selling lots. He also renamed Conduit in the east end of Toronto to Glenlake. Houses started selling instantly after the name change.

In 1929,  LePage built a five-room bungalow in one day and sold it by the end of the day. What started as a joke became a successful challenge.

Lucy Maud Montgomery mentions A.E. LePage in volume four of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery.

This story has been updated from the original article that appeared in the March 2008 issue of REM.


Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, announced the following changes to the standards governing government-backed 
insured mortgages:

  • the maximum amortization period was reduced from 30 years to 25 years;
  • the maximum amount Canadians can withdraw in refinancing their mortgages was lowered to 80 per cent from 
    85 per cent of the value of their homes;
  • the maximum gross debt service ratio was fixed at 39 per cent and the maximum total debt service ratio 
    at 44 per cent; and
  •  the availability of government-backed insured mortgages was limited to homes with a purchase price of less 
    than $1 million.

Today’s announcement confirms Canadians will continue to be able to purchase a home with five percent down. 


Our clients often wonder what are the smart things to do to their home to keep them up to date and hold or increase their value. I found this article put out by First National Financial LP that has some great pointers.


Whether you’re renovating to make your home more comfortable, or you plan to sell it and are looking to get the money back, keep in mind that you don’t want to over-renovate for your area. If you overspend and over-renovate for your area, it will be unlikely that you will see the return that you’re expecting. Plan your renovation and select materials that are going to fit with the neighbourhood. If comparable properties don’t have granite, hardwood floors or high-end carpet, then consider not using them in your renovation.

It’s a good idea to speak with your real estate agent about what buyers are looking for, and what features will add the most value.

1. Modernize kitchens and bathrooms

Kitchen and bathrooms renos are a smart choice as both of these areas are extremely important to most buyers. Look to make the kitchen bright, spacious and modern. Modern doesn’t mean trendy – you want updates that are going to last for years and stand the test of time. Paint or stain your old cabinets and add new door hardware if you can’t afford to change out all the cupboards.

Bathrooms with neutral tones and bold fixtures are a good choice. Remove cabinets and put in pedestals if you need to make a room look larger. Upgrade to better quality plumbing fixtures to create added appeal.

2. Perk it up with paint

Painting is a fast and affordable way to freshen up your home. The key is to pick neutral tones and do a good job. Paint your interior as well as your exterior for a new and updated look.

3. Lay down new flooring

Attractive floors add value. Consider upgrading your flooring to hardwood wherever you can. If you already have hardwood floors, refinish them if they’re looking scuffed and tired. Ceramic tiles are best in bathrooms and the kitchen. Consider staying with a neutral inexpensive tile for the main areas, and then use only a small number of accent tiles for a pop of colour. If budget is a concern, take a look at some of the new laminate flooring that is now available. It’s durable and looks great!

4. Turn to new light fixtures and door hardware

Updating new light fixtures in the right places, such as the kitchen and dining room, will brighten up the space and enhance the ambience. Consider replacing your front and back door as well. It’s amazing how much difference it can make to the overall look of your home.

5. Spruce up your deck and landscaping

Make sure your outdoor BBQ and entertaining area is inviting by power washing your deck and painting or restaining if needed. Add to the curb appeal of your house by repairing fences and leveling any patio stones and steps that may have shifted over the winter. Keep shrubs and trees looking neat and healthy by trimming them properly. Stay on top of the weeding in your lawn and garden so the weeds don’t win out!


By Elden Freeman


It’s difficult not to get a case of the open-air crazies at this time of year. Everyone is pruning and seeding or fertilizing and mulching or aerating and planting. It’s infectious and perhaps a reaction to being cooped up indoors most winters.

While it’s fun to pretty up your outdoor space, it’s also important to be mindful of the impact beautiful gardens and lawns have on our environment. Perhaps the biggest consequence of this love affair with lawns is our unrestrained water consumption. Canadians are already big water abusers, using 350 litres per person per day. That amount jumps by 50 per cent in summer months thanks to outdoor water usage.

Ever heard of xeriscaping? It’s fuss-free gardening and landscaping that uses a minimal amount of water, time and effort. The concept, which is also known as drought-tolerant landscaping and smart scaping, was pioneered originally for desert regions but has spread to water – abundant places thanks to conservationists.

One of the most important things you can do when xeriscaping is to find plants that are native to your area. These are generally plants that sustain themselves on less water. Good selections are drought-tolerant plants that have long roots or succulents that store moisture in their leaves. Other good choices are plants that have fuzzy, waxy or silver leaves that either reflect the sun or lock in moisture.

Before you start planting, consider your soil. Improve it with organic matter. This encourages deep-rooted plants, which means plants can find their own sources of nutrients and moisture buried deep into the ground, unlike shallow-rooted vegetation.

Group plants based on their moisture needs with the more water-dependent plants closer to the water source. This limits the amount of water you need to spread around your grounds. Think about placing plants that are more water reliant in more shaded areas to limit evaporation of water.

Limit your lawn to flat areas that are easier to keep moist. Limit the size and number of these sections by using drought-tolerant plants to surround the areas of turf. For the grassy areas, take care to use drought tolerant species of grass rather than those that require much more water to thrive.

Water turf and garden areas no more often than once per week, but water deeply. This forces the plants to develop extensive root systems. Drip irrigation from a soaker hose reduces the amount of water lost to evaporation by sprinkler systems. Or collect water from your roof in rain barrels.

Mulch the soil to prevent water evaporation, maintain an even, cool soil temperature and prevent the germination of weed seeds. For ornamental gardens, choose mulch that is as natural in appearance as possible and that will eventually break down and become soil. Consider chopped leaves or pea gravel. The best time to lay mulch is in late spring after the soil has warmed, but before summer’s heat begins.

There is plenty of information online about what grasses, shrubs and plants are best for xeriscaping. Favoured perennials are the black-eyed susan and poppies, while good grasses include maiden grass and little bluestern.

The most obvious benefit of xeriscaping is lower water bills, but there are plenty more. Think of the neighbourhood cachet you’ll draw as the house with the eco-garden. Think of the extra time you’ll save cutting your lawn. When other garden beds begin to wither thanks to water restrictions, yours will flourish.

This is a type of gardening we’re sure to hear more about as the cost of water rises and more people warm to conservationist issues. Share this knowledge with your clients and you’ll be seen as – pardon the pun – cutting edge.


An informative article put out by a local Calgary Real Estate Lawyer

With interest rates steadily dropping over the past number of years, there hasn’t been much incentive or demand for buyers to assume existing mortgages from sellers. Since it appears that interest rates have “bottomed out” and most experts expect mortgage rates to rise in the near future, the demand for mortgage assumptions is likely to increase. As a result, this is a good time for a refresher on how to handle mortgage assumption transactions. 


First of all I need to dispel a couple of common misconceptions. The belief that: 

  • all mortgages are assumable in this province; and 
  • a seller’s liability under a high ratio insured mortgage ends upon the buyer making twelve consecutive payments or upon the renewal of the existing mortgage term. 

In the past, it was difficult for banks to prevent their mortgages from being assumed. However, for close to a decade the courts in Alberta have been enforcing “due on sale” clauses (the obligation of the home owner to secure the bank’s consent for a change of ownership) as part of the fight against mortgage fraud. What this means is that if a homeowner transfers the title without the involvement of the mortgage lender, the lender can foreclose on the property for that reason alone even if all the other obligations of the borrower (including all mortgage payments) have been honoured. 


It is for the foregoing reason that the standard AREA Residential Real Estate Purchase Contract was amended in 2006 to incorporate an automatic “mortgage assumability” condition in clause 8.3. This condition ensures that if the lender does not consent to the Buyer assuming the mortgage, then the contract will terminate. 


It should be noted that this condition is unique in a couple of respects. First of all, the condition is triggered automatically by the insertion of a dollar amount in the Assumption of Mortgage line of paragraph 2.2. Even if the parties overlook paragraph 8.3 and do not insert a Condition Date, the condition will still apply. Without a specified date, the condition will extend for a “reasonable” length of time. It goes without saying that the better practice is to insert a certain date for the expiry of the condition in order to avoid disputes. Secondly, this condition is specified to be for the mutual benefit of both the Buyer and the Seller and, as a result, has to be waived by both parties to firm up the contract. 


In order to avoid disputes respecting the terms of the mortgage being assumed (interest rate, payments, remainder of term) the relevant portions of the Financing Schedule should be completed and the Schedule incorporated into the contract by checking off the relevant box in paragraph 7.5. 


If the mortgage being assumed is conventional (non-insured), then this is as far as industry members need to go. The lawyers handling the closing of the transaction will order an assumption statement from the lender, adjust the purchase price and payments and handle the rest. 


If, however, the mortgage being assumed is high-ratio insured, then extra caution should be exercised by industry members. The Seller will remain personally liable for any deficiency on the mortgage for the remaining life of the mortgage (including all renewal terms). 


The twelve months payment rule, which was internal policy at CMHC only, no longer exists. The reality is that the Seller’s liability will only end upon the mortgage being repaid in full, and the Seller has to understand this risk prior to signing the acceptance of the offer. The only possible way in which the Seller would be protected against the risk of future default by the Buyer would be if the mortgage lender was prepared to “release” the seller from liability. While a Seller’s condition respecting the securing of such a release could be inserted into the contract, this is likely a waste of time as mortgage lenders have little or no incentive to grant it. 


To ensure that the Seller’s problems do not become the problems of the listing agent, a written acknowledgment confirming the Seller’s understanding of continuing liability under the high ratio insured mortgage being assumed should be obtained prior to the execution of the contract and kept in the Brokerage file. 



Lubos K. Pesta, Q.C. Walsh Wilkins Creighton LLP  


By Elden Freeman

If the family room is the emotional centre of a house, the kitchen is its heart and soul.

It’s where we do a lot of living. As such, it’s one of the more expensive areas of a home to build, to renovate and to keep running smoothly and efficiently. It’s also an area we can easily overlook in our quest to raise our environmental know-how.

Installing faucet aerators and shopping at Whole Foods are great for our eco-consciousness but there is so much more homeowners can do to lessen their impact on the environment and to save money in the meantime.

About 30 per cent of your household energy use takes place in the kitchen. Because energy guzzling appliances are a big part of the kitchen, it’s important to rethink or relearn how to use them. According to Kate Heyhoe, author of Green Cooking: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen, this can be done without sacrificing your favourite recipes.

Your overall cookprint – which is what Heyhoe calls the environmental impact created when you eat and cook – is what we need to begin shrinking. You’ve heard this term elsewhere, more likely as sustainable eating.

The oven is an energy hog or as Heyhoe puts it, the Humvee of the kitchen. Since only about six per cent of the fuel used for an oven goes toward active cooking, try using a toaster oven or your cook-top instead. Try more passive cooking. Reconsider the length of time you preheat the oven and give it a try without any preheating time at all. Consider turning the oven off 10 or 15 minutes earlier than the prescribed cooking time, which allows the food to finish cooking from heat already built up inside the oven. Try softening noodles by soaking them first in boiling water.

Many green foodies abhor microwave ovens, but they probably don’t know that they consume far less energy than a stove. The beauty of a microwave is that it doesn’t heat up your kitchen and lead you to turn up your air conditioning. Try not to use them to defrost foods, though, because that’s simply wasteful. Thawing food overnight in your fridge is best.

Did you know that convection ovens produce 30 per cent less greenhouse gases than conventional ovens?

Many kitchen faucets are controlled by a single valve. If you leave the handle tilted to the hot side (usually the left) and turn that on, you fire up the hot water tank even when you don’t want hot water. Simply leaving it turned to the right saves energy.

Teflon cookware and single-serving containers are two of Heyhoe’s biggest pet peeves. Teflon is not only toxic but often poorly made and easily disposable. Single-serving containers of yogurt and individual bottles of iced tea add needless waste to our landfill sites. Consider instead brewing your iced tea at home or eating your yogurt from a bowl or lunch-box container.

Since kitchens generate the most waste of any room in the house, start by minimizing the excess packaging you purchase at the supermarket. Buy fresh, unwrapped produce, avoid buying in bulk and huge portions unless you eat in bulk or have a big family to feed. Reuse plastic bags, glass jars and packaging. And don’t forget to compost your organic waste.

The toxins that go into dishwashing soap, floor and glass cleaners, detergents and the gamut of household cleaners we use in our kitchens is frightening. There are solutions with cleaning products that are non-toxic, biodegradable and plant-based. Or consider making your own household cleaning products from such kitchen staples as baking soda, lemon juice and white vinegar.

While we should celebrate the earth every day of the year, April brings us Earth Day on the 22nd as a reminder. Consider sharing some of these tips with your clients. The earth will thank you for it.

Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.