BY HEINO MOLLS – This month, REM is participating in the Banff Western Connection V conference and trade show. I have been thinking about the high calibre of trade shows and conferences that are taking place in the industry today.
In addition to the successful Western Connection, the Atlantic Provinces associations are hosting conferences with outstanding programs that have become events that cannot be missed.
For some associations, attendance has been down, so a different direction has been taken. For example, the Ontario Real Estate Association and recently, the Canadian Real Estate Association, have made new initiatives, holding leadership conferences that are a tremendous value to delegates who attend.
Canada’s major real estate companies stage annual gala events that reflect a true appreciation of their employees and franchise members. They include awards, celebrations of success, and sincere acknowledgment for achievements that are well deserved, not only within the scope of a company, but to the communities that Realtors belong to across the country.
I have always enjoyed trade shows and conferences in the real estate industry. They are charged with energy. Everyone who comes to the shows is at once ready to share their ideas and learn new things from someone else.
The latest developments in technology are ready to be tried hands on. New products are on display. Services to help Realtors are rolled out with a flourish of demonstrations.
Old friends greet each other. New friends are made. War stories are told. Tragedies are shared. People are hugged. Successes are celebrated. Anecdotes are many. Emotions are genuine. People are passionate.
When you attend a real estate trade show, the air is electric. No one is trying to make new contacts that they can use. Everyone is among friends who are already prepared to help each other willingly.
Having said all that, I do confess, there is one trade show I miss.
We no longer have a large, general trade show, in central Canada. Please spare me the jokes about how that’s no surprise, given how dull everybody in the middle of the country can be. I have heard them all.
Notwithstanding the excellent conferences that will be taking place in the coming months, put on by the Toronto Real Estate Board as well as OREA and CREA, they are still focussed to leaders and in the case of TREB, primarily to their members.
I think it’s time for a large national convention for all Realtors from all across the country in central Canada.
And I can’t think of a better place to hold it than where I live, Stratford, Ont.
There are enough hotels and available accommodations here to host a grand convention and trade show. During the off season, that is when the theatres aren’t staging all those la de dah plays, room rates plunge to incredible bargains.
In fact, I cannot believe another industry has not taken advantage of the facilities that are available here for a fraction of the cost of the big city. Why not Realtors?
Stratford is an eclectic crossroad of Canada. I often remark to my friends in the big city that when you line up in the checkout at the grocery store here, you will likely be standing next to an extremely flamboyant actor, an old order Mennonite farmer, and a redneck truck driver.
As unusual as that may be anywhere else, it is common place in Stratford. And the staggering thing is, everybody gets along just fine! Stratford is known internationally for its restaurants, Shakespeare, and its stunning theatres. I think it should also be known as a model for tolerance, given the clash of lifestyles and characters who walk on its streets together.
I can picture the tremendous atmosphere during a real estate convention. It would envelope the whole town! Speakers addressing Realtors on Canada’s finest stage, the famous Festival Theatre by the lake. Entertainment in Stratford’s newest venue downtown, opened by the Prime Minister this summer. I can even envision a busy trade show held in the historic main arena where Howie Morenz, the great Montreal Canadiens hockey player, once played over a half century ago.
It sure would be great. It could be an annual event that Realtors from all across Canada would benefit from, and truly enjoy.
But the great challenge, and the great question is, if such a convention was organized, would they come?
Another question would be who would organize it? What kind of character would be willing to do all that running around, organizing, attend all those committee meetings, marshal all that support, cajole all the sponsorships, do all that and more, plus risk no remuneration, not to mention the possibility of losing money out of pocket?
I would do it in a minute.
In fact, let me get started right now. Please let me know if you would be interested in attending a Realtor convention in Stratford, Ont. next year. You can click yes or no, anonymously, to that question on our web site at Or if you like, fax me a simple yes or no at (519) 273-6343.
I will let you know what kind of response comes in. Hey, you never know.

By: Heino Molls
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