UPDATE: See below for response fron Vancouver Province Editor Erik Rolfsen
The story first appeared in the North Shore News on February 18 about a house listed for $38 million, accompanied by a photo of the real house, a sprawling rancher-style suburban home.
The fake photos went viral when the story was picked up by the Vancouver Sun, who added a photo gallery showing gilt-covered rooms in the style of Louis XVI and the opulent exterior of the house, taken from the realtor’s website.
The paper neglected to say that the images were photo illustrations. On February 25, the Sun published a correction, and the story has now been removed from its website.
But by then, the story had been picked up by the U.K.’s Daily Mail, who published the photos on its website under the headline: “The $38 million Vancouver mansion that is Canada's most expensive home and also one of its ugliest too.”
Realtor Laura McLaren said the blogger is wrong and that the photos on her site, which have now all been removed apart from the external shot (pictured above), were always identified as photo renderings of "what could be built on this property."
“The pictures are renderings and you can see that they’re renderings … Each picture had ‘these are renderings,’” said McLaren.
When you clicked on the listing, the summary page showed 19 thumbnail photos. This summary page also gave no indication that any of these photos were "renderings".
The media frenzy supposedly erupted when the fourth estate horde (and misguided bloggers) failed to research the issue. If they had only read the fine print on individual photos from the agent's website, the media would have known better and not run with the errors in this story.
Is this really an acceptable way to present a property for sale in the eyes of the Real Estate Council of BC?
How was this allowed to happen?
How did this story morph so badly from the one that appeared February 18th in the North Shore News as a teardown bungalow to the one that appeared February 19th in the Edmonton Journal as a gaudy, opulent mansion?
Don't the 'renderings' and the way they were presented play a key role here?
If the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) doesn't have guidelines to protect the public, why not fake things in a big, big way?
In the meantime, perhaps the RECBC can contact the Vancouver Province and set them straight on what's actually on the land at 3810 Marine Drive?
Someone should do something to sort out the ongoing media confusion.
==================If you had been paying attention two weeks ago when every media outlet in town was scrambling to post a gallery of this phony house, you might have noticed that The Province was the one outlet that had it right. That's because I personally picked up the phone and questioned the agent representing this property about the suspicious images. He graciously explained that they were indeed artist's renderings. We included this information on the photo gallery we published on our site at the time (we were the only ones to do so), but we later suppressed it altogether because it seems pointless to show people photos of a house that doesn't exist.
The story you reference above is a wire story from Canadian Press that was packaged by CP on Monday and appeared on our site via an automated feed to which we subscribe. Clearly they searched the archives for a recent listing to accompany their story and grabbed one of the renderings. I see that somebody has since brought the error to their attention and the photo no longer accompanies their package.Thanks for the attention, though.Erik Rolfsen (Province News Editor)
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