NAR's Code of Ethics Marks Historic Milestone

On July 29, 1913, the National Association of REALTORS® adopted a code of ethics at their annual convention in Winnipeg, Manitoba. But why did this momentous event occur in Canada, of all places?

“For many decades, the Winnipeg REALTORS® Association, along with several other local and provincial real estate associations in Canada, were members of the National Association of REALTORS®,” writes Frederik Heller, manager of NAR’s archives and virtual library, in a recent blog post.

In NAR’s 1908 constitution, the organization stated its mission was to “unite the real estate men of America” — meaning all of North America. In 1912, the constitution was revised to include “the real estate men of North America,” eliminating any confusion about the status of members outside the U.S. In the late 1930s, the association expanded its official territory to include the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, as well as the Philippines, Canada, Mexico, and Cuba.

“In the association’s early days, one of the highlights of each annual convention was a contest to decide which city would host the next year’s meeting,” Heller explains. “A few months before the [previous year’s] meeting, the R.M.S. Titanic famously collided with an iceberg during its maiden voyage and sank in the Atlantic Ocean. Among the 1,502 passengers lost were three REALTOR® members from Winnipeg: Mark Fortune, J. Hugo Ross, and Thompson Beattie. It was in their memory that the 1912 delegates chose Winnipeg to host NAR’s 6th annual convention.”

Winnipeg and other Canadian real estate boards left NAR in 1943 to join the newly-formed Canadian Real Estate Association, but Canada still remained part of NAR’s official territory, at least on paper.  It wasn’t until 1959 that Canada was officially removed from the territory described in NAR’s constitution.

Source: “The Code of Ethics’ North-of-the-Border Connection,” NAR’s Info Central Blog (July 17, 2013).

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