In Vancouver during the early decades of the century, it was fairly common practice for homeowners to use restrictive clauses in their land titles to keep Chinese and Indo-Canadians, as well as people of Asiatic or African descent, from ever owning that property.
Wayne Hammil, a local real estate agent, discovered one of these covenants on the 1928 title for a house that he was listing – though Sec. 222 of the Land Title Act voids this type of discrimination.
"[There's a] total irony because most of the buyers are from mainland China," Hammil told the Globe and Mail. "If this was enforced, it would preclude them from purchasing the property."
The covenant is easily voided by a simple phone call to the province’s Land Title and Survey Authority, but those wishing to completely remove the offensive portion from the title can face an arduous and oftentimes costly road ahead.
"It's more uncomfortable and a little awkward than really substantive," Hammil said.
As modern Canadians we may think that we are fair and equitable to all, but it hasn’t always been so, and at least one Vancouver agent has found some embarrassing covenants in a buyer’s title.