Two hundred issues ago it was 1989.

 

I was making a few notes about the year that we started publishing REM. I am not sure if it means anything or not but the first thing that sprang to mind was communication. The year REM started publishing, cell phones were not common place.

 

The first pioneers of a home office were people who made calls from home but pretended that they were at an office. “Never mind that dog barking, I have the front window of my downtown office open and that’s just someone walking by.”

 

The Canadian Real Estate Association was offering incentives to any local board willing to take a major step in technology by buying a fax machine. Plain paper faxes were still a year or two away.

 

Internationally, a number of major events took place 200 issues ago. Tiananmen Square in Beijing endured a great tragedy and loss of life.

 

The Berlin Wall opened.

 

Believe it or not, the United States of America invaded a country and arrested its leader. The country that year was Panama.

 

Closer to home, Brian Mulroney was our prime minister. Ed Broadbent was in his last year as leader of the NDP party. The Free Trade Agreement came into effect.  A new political party known as the Reform Party elected their first member to Parliament in a by-election.

Sadly for me, as a train traveler, Via Rail made sweeping and deep cuts to its railway network all across Canada, something I will never forgive the Conservatives for doing.

 

Also sadly, I would say, Heather Erxleben became a note of trivia for the Canadian Armed Forces. She became the first female combat soldier in the history of Canada, so women could be killed as equally as men.

 

In sports, the Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup.

 

The first pitch was thrown for the Toronto Blue Jays at their new stadium, SkyDome. It opened the same year we started publishing, just a stone’s throw away at Bay and Lakeshore. Now, as we roll out REM’s 200th issue, there is talk of tearing down the “old” stadium to build a new and more modern building.

 

Golfer Michelle Wie is in the sports pages all the time these days. When REM’s first issue came out, she had not yet been born.

 

Another new media giant began operation the same year as REM — CBC Newsworld.

My son Zakary was still a teenager in 1989. Today Zak is 35 years old and has made me a grandfather.

 

My family moved to a whole new city. We used to live in the Beaches area of Toronto, about five houses up from the boardwalk. We are in Stratford, Ont. today and very happy to be here. But I still miss the old house and listening to the waves from the lake at night. The Toronto beaches area became a very sought-after area to live in once I moved there.

I am having the same effect on Stratford. Call me if you would like property values to go up in your area. I will move there.

 

Now on a serious note. REM has changed in a lot of ways since the first issue 16 years and 200 issues ago. Over the years, we introduced better features, graphic redesigns, distribution through every real estate board and association in Canada, and a website that grows deeper every week.

 

But if you were to ask me if I could name one thing that means the most to me, it would be this:

 

We began this publication with a promise that we would deliver news, information and advertising in a fair and objective manner. If we have changed in any way over the past 200 issues, I would say that we have become more uncompromising than ever in that promise. In the history of mankind and the world, I know that is not going to make much of a difference.

 

But for what it’s worth, I think it is important to the real estate industry in Canada.

 

And I am very proud of that.

Heino Molls is publisher of REM. E-mail [email protected]  or discuss this article in the REM Discussion Forum.

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