Tuesday, June 28, 2005

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

Stanford Report, June 14, 2005
'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5ยข deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky โ€“ I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me โ€“ I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything โ€“ all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Roy Haynes Quartet/ Ed Thigpen Sextet Jazz Winnipeg Festival, June 25, 2005

Roy Haynes and Ed Thigpen are two of the most respected, longest-playing jazz drummers in the world. Haynes, born on March 13, 1925 (80) and Thigpen, December 28, 1930 (75), both received the kind of adulation and applause reserved for living legends.

Ed Thigpen, based in Copenhagen since 1973

It came as no surprise to see Ed Thigpen receive a thunderous welcome from the audience when he walked on stage. Known for his drumming style with brushes, Thigpen spoke clearly, and drummed confidentaly. "Mr. Taste", as he is known, surrounded himself with young performers, who knocked themselves out to impress their boss and the audience.

Kasper Villaume

The most sterling example of talent for me, came from pianist Kasper Villaume. This guy was reminded me of Michael Kaeshammer, by his ability to pick out the most appropriate, sparkling notes, to match the mood of the moment. Obviously a performer more than just a musician, Villaume acknowledged that audience's applause time with huge smiles. I have one of his CDs on order and I would not be surprised if he decides to lead his own band full-time and leave the spotlight of playing with Ed Thigpen's band. Some of the compositions played inclueded Shake It Out, Thaddeus, It Might As Well Be Spring, and Fast Train.

Tomas Franck

The group, known as the Scantet, was rounded out by Jens Winther (trumpet), Tomas Franck (tenor sax), and Jesper Bodilsen (bass), all established Scandinavian players. Poney-tailed Franck reminded me of the look of Bleeding Gums Murphy.

Jens Winther

Jesper Bodsilen

Dressed in what almost looked like golden pajamas, Roy Haynes also received a thunderous applause when he walked on stage. He gave a more hyperactive performace than his younger colleage, Ed Thigpen. Armed with a younger ensemble, including dreadlocked sax player Marcus Strickland, Haynes put on a flashy show, full of energy. Before speaking with the audience, he grabbed the microphone and began to tap out a rhythm, and then engaged the audience to participate, getting the men and ladies to play different parts.

Marcus Strickland didn't crack a smile until much later on when Haynes made a joke, but he played superbly and was the most notable musician to me. Pianist Martin Bejerano and bassist John Strickland both met every challenge with the type of dexterity and control fitting of experienced soloists and recording musicians.

Martin Bejerano, Marcus Strickland and John Sulllivan

You can imagine the audiences response when he came back on stage at the very end for the final bow and announced that not only was he close to tears for the incredible adulation shown by the audience, but that he turned 80 years old this past March!

Marcus Strickland

From the Winnipeg Free Press, by Chris Smith.
Ed Thigpen/Roy Haynes
Jazz Winnipeg Festival

Manitoba Theatre Centre

June 23

4 stars out of 5

By Chris Smith

TWO legendary drummers, both coming from the mainstream of jazz, but also two different approaches to the game.
Roy Haynes is the more aggressive of the two, but Thigpen's quieter approach can carry a punch of its own.

Together they're 154 years old and have played with biggest names in modern jazz, yet their playing remains more the work of men in their prime than in their declining years.

Haynes marches boldly onstage ready to confront any suggestion that he and his band aren't ready to kick ass. And, of course that's just what they do.

Tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland and the boss prove it from the get-go, taking no prisoners as they solo during the first number.

If Thigpen, who played first, was the epitome of gentle delivery, Haynes takes a more aggressive tack and takes his band mates on a wilder ride than Thigpen's five-piece Scantet.

Thigpen's Scandinavian band is a tight, tight assembly with the assurance and ease of a group used to performing and recording together.
The drummer himself is such a smooth player -- not flashy or bombastic, simply an elegant player who tastefully accompanied his band members and solos with aplomb.

Trumpeter Jens Winther and tenor saxophonist Tomas Franck are as intense a front line as you'll find and each can soar during a solo.

Terence Blanchard, Jazz Winnipeg Festival, June 24

Terence Blanchard is a fantastic jazz trumpeter who I have been dying to see for years. He actually played the Jazz Winnipeg Festival a couple of times, but I missed both shows. This time, however, I made sure to buy my tickets as soon as they went on sale. I ended up in the sixth row, with a superb view.

Opening the show was the Roy/ Atkinsion Trio, featuring local virtouso guitarist Larry Roy and drummer Alvin Atkinson. Well-known Montreal bassist Michel Donato completed the trio.

Marilyn Lerner and Larry Roy

I was absolutely stunned by the drumming wizardry of Alvin Atkinson, Jr. They said he was a local drummer, but I had never heard of him, and yet, here he was, putting on the best display of drumming from a local player that I have ever seen, and second only to Branford Marsalis' drummer, Jeff "Tain" Watts, in terms of all the drummers I've seen. Later on, they mentioned that he has been in town only since last year and is a visiting jazz drum professor at the U of Manitoba. Well, no wonder!

Alvin Atkinson

Larry Roy, was the MC, and once again, proved why he is such a huge talent. He has an identifiable sound, which I won't try to describe, but I will say that to have your own sound as an instrumentalist is something very special, indeed. Larry could play anywhere in the world, he is that good. Watching him perform, you see that he is really a conduit for music. Notes fly off his fingers, causing him to contort as he channels a flow of glorious sounds. Michel Donata is one of the top bass players in all of Canada and has been repeatedly recognized as such. Jazz fans know who he is. He looked like he just woke up, with "bed hair", which I thought was a bit amusing. Still, he contributed without being overly flashy.

Now, for the headliner - Terence Blanchard. Blanchard a student of Ellis Marsalis, was the replacement for Wynton Marsalis in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, in 1983, so he has already had a lengthy career in the spotlight. He's also known for contributing to film soundtracks like Mo'Better Blues and Malcolm X. Of course, he is also a teacher and mentor to up and coming jazz musicians. Blanchard opened the set with a an atmospheric piece that reminded me of that quiet yet unforgettable sounds that Miles Davis used to conjour up.

What was especially appealing about the Blanchard show was how it pushed the boundaries of jazz with some quirky electronic sounds, and African guitarist Lionel Loueke and his peculiar playing and the overall vibe of the group who tried to occaisionally stretch out the concept of jazz.

Apparently, some members of the audience walked out, but for the rest of us, we were treated to a spellbinding performance. Everything Blanchard played was stellar. His sidemen were all very adept players. His tenor saxophonist, Brice Winston, blew me away and was head and shoulders beyond just about every sax player I have seen.

Brice Winston

From the Winnipeg Free Press, by Chris Smith.
IT was a different Terence Blanchard who took the Jazz Winnipeg Festival stage last night, and he didn't sit well with everyone.

The trumpeter, who has performed here twice before, played as well as ever, but his new project and CD, Flow, includes electronics that longtime fans aren't used to.

He and his top-notch band lost a dozen or more people from the audience after a half-hour or so, but he easily held the rest of the crowd because underlying the electric Blanchard are the New Orleans jazz roots that he has carried through his career with Art Blakey, his duo with Donald Harrison, film scores for Spike Lee and straight-ahead jazz.

He opened his concert, the first jazz fest concert held at Manitoba Theatre Centre, with an almost ethereal solo before the band joined in (as well as the security alarm from the Lexus on display in the lobby).

Blanchard may be the draw, but he is one of those musicians who attracts bright players and this lineup fits the bill. Tenor saxophonist Brice Winston is a great player who commands the stage when Blanchard moves aside to give him the spotlight. He has a dexterity and tone that complement even someone as accomplished as Blanchard.

Pianist Aaron Parks looks too young to play as well as he does, but as good a soloist as he is, he has that much-needed skill as a feeling accompanist not only to Blanchard, but the other band members as well.

Guitarist Lionel Loueke, from Brunei, was the most visible (make that audible) manifestation of the newer Blanchard sound. The trumpeter credited him with broadening his horizons with the use of electronic aids, but that sound at times conjured up a '70s Miles Davis vibe that didn't really hold its own.

That said, Blanchard remains a wonderful soloist who soars on a ballad and flies through up tempo numbers.

The opening act of guitarist Larry Roy, drummer Alvin Atkinson Jr. and Montreal bassist Michel Donato performed some tasty material, but was hampered by a bad sound mix that had the bass too low and drums too high.

What should have been Atkinson's brush work sounding like a whisper while Donato soloed, for example, sounded like a rasping and forced you to strain to hear the bass.

Fortunately, the sound was pristine for the Blanchard set.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

105th US Open Golf Championship

The 105th US Open Golf Championship was on this weekend, and what a tournament it turned out to be.

Two-time champion, and last year's winner Retief Goosen, ranked 5th, from South Africa began the fourth round in the final pairing with Jason Gore, previously ranked 818th in the world.

Without a doubt, it looked as if this was Goosen's tournament to win again. He survived the first 54 holes as just about everyone else around him succumbed to the concave shaped greens. In many instances, if your ball landed on the green, there was a good chance that it would roll off. Goosen, the 2001 and 2004 winner, began the day at three under. Jason Gore began at even par. At the end of the day, Goosen ended up gaining 11 strokes, while Gore ballooned by 14, the worse score of the day. Overall, Kiwi Michael Campbell won with even par 280, minus 1 for the day. Tiger Woods put on a charge, but double-bogeyed near the end to end up with minus one for the day and a two over score of 282.

It was amazing to watch how the game quickly shifted from Goosen's to Campbell's. Throughout yesterday and today, however, Gore was the crowd's favorite. He's was a little known golfer with very little success, earning less than $30,000 US this year. His car was broken into and his stereo stolen. A local company replaced it free of charge. Gore played with incredible heart and emotion, compared to Goosen's reserved demeanor. Pinehurst No. 2, one of 8 golf courses at Pinehurst, SC, definitely creamed some of the best players, including Vijay Singh (286, tied for 6th), Sergio Garcia (285), Davis Love III (286.)

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Meadows Golf Course, East St. Paul, Winnipeg

It was tough to find a place to golf today, with so many courses having tournaments on a Friday.

I opeted to try The Meadows, the newest 18-hole course in Winnipeg. Located at the junction of Highway 59 and the Perimeter, it's less than 30 minutes away.

The clubhouse is fairly small. Later on, we found out that they are renting the building and will construct a full-sized club house later.

As the name suggests, The Meadows appears to be carved out of a field - many of the holes are flat. We found the round tough due to the narrow landing areas. If you hit a really nice drive, chances are, you would still end up in the rough. Combine this with the fact that the course was busy and you end up with a frustrating 5 hour round. We're used to playing 18 holes in 3.5 hours. Spending that extra time waiting throws your game out of rhythm. I putted fairly well, mostly two-putting. The greens were in great shape. Some of the fairways were lacking in grass, but this was not to be unexpected. Towards the end of the round, there were some holes just begging for long drives, and I'm pleased to say that I delivered. I had some really nice 3-woods shots from the rough. The grass for these shots was logn but not thick. I was amazed at how my three wood ploughed through the grass and advanced the ball further than I would have, had I used an iron, like a 7 iron.

For $28, I was a tad disappointed. There are other courses that are cheaper and superior. The Meadows is billed as a championship course. In terms of length, I would agree. In terms of the difficulty, I suppose I would agree. But, compared to many of the other courses we regularly play, it's nothing special. There are no changes in elevation, for example. In a few years, it may be better, but for now, it's not a course that I will go out of my way to play again.


One of my playing partners brought along a new 460 cc Jazz driver. A friend of his one it in a tournament and is selling it for $40. My friend decided to try it out today. It's main benefit is the large sweet spot. I took a gentle swing with it and to be honest, it felt awkward. The head is almost comically large.

What's even more astonishing, is that Jazz makes a 500 cc driver!!

review - Batman Begins

3/5 Batman Begins

For me, this wasn't the spectacular, flawless rebirth that a lot of people were hoping for. But, I believe this is by far the best of the Batman films and I look forward to more with Christian Bale as our hero, as well as the rest of the ensemble cast.

The dialogue was often terrible. There was a good twist on how to make a bad guy (Scarecrow), chillingly played by Cillian Murphy (Cold Mountain, 28 Days Later.) The opening felt a tad cheesy with the training, etc.

Katie Holmes was not credible as a lawyer and in my mind, she reinforces why I consider her to be a flyweight actress. She has beautiful, deep, dark brown eyes, however. In scenes with Christian Bale, he has a deeper prescence than she does. I wouldn't miss her if they went with someone else next time. Bale was very good - convicing as a troubled person seeking a change, mysterious and possessing a dark soul. Clearly, he's an actor of substance.

Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine were solid, as usual, appearing as if acting comes efforlessly to them. I didn't find Leeam Neeson particularly strong. He seemed to be going through motions, which is a rarity for him. We saw too little of Gary Oldman but hopefully, there will be more of him as he becomes the Police Commissioner.

The plot wasn't all that great, but "save the world" (or, in this case, Gotham) stories are usually horrible. Still, there is a tie-in to the beginning, our new nemesis Scarecrow and his modus operandi. Some of these scenes may be frightening to children - I know they spooked me!

At the end of Batman Begins, we see who the next bad guy is...I loathe the idea of the campier bad guys appearing once again. They main bad guys bring back memories of the TV series and that's not a good thing, IMHO. I hope they take the plunge to introduce new enemies for these modern times.

At 2 hours and 20 minutes, I felt it was too long. Overall, however, this is excellent fare for the masses and deserves to be a blockbuster. The franchise has been reborn.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

review - Mr. and Mrs. Smith

2/5 Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Bratt Pitt plays John Smith (the most anonymous name ever!) while Angelina Jolie plays wife Jane Smith, both living double lives as secret agents, unbeknownst to each other.

One day, they are both assigned to take out a bad guy, only to have their attempts foiled by each other. Each goes searching for the enemy agent only to find out that they are after each other!

Really dumb, cartoonish film with no redeeming qualities. Pitt and Jolie make an attractive couple, but the plot, of which there is more than I mentioned, isn't intriguing at all. It's a poor cousin to both War of the Roses and True Lies.

Directed by Doug Liman, responsible for the directing the Bourne Identity and producing both Bourne films starring Matt Damon, Mr. and Mrs. Smith is an example of what's wrong with so many films today - no substance beyond the eye candy. Angelina Jolie is deliciously sexy at all times, whether she's laying out dinner escaping out the window from her Manhattan skyscraper suite. Brad Pitt goes through the motions, but doesn't turn in a performance that will be remembered for an Oscar nomination.

Not something I would buy on DVD, see again or recommend.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Dead Can Dance reunite

Dead Can Dance, one of the most unique musical groups in recent memory, have reunited after splitting seven years ago, and releasing their last album nine years ago.

They are in the midst of a European tour and will tour parts of North America this year. They have sold out of 13 concert CDs, limited to a run of 500 copies each.

From beppeblog:

Dead Can Dance are, simply put, one of the best bands of the last twenty years, encompassing Dark Wave, Medieval Music, Classical Influences and trans-inducing Ethno. After their split in 1998, Brendan Perry went solo as a Singer/Songwriter and Lisa Gerrard contributed to some great film scores, including the Oscar-Winnign "Gladiator" with Hans Zimmer.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Record house prices

Record house prices
Sizzling city market shocks even industry vets

Sat Jun 4 2005

PETER Squire, the Winnipeg Real Estate Board's market analyst, was expecting another robust month of sales in May, but yesterday he did a double-take.

And then a second calculation.

"I wasn't quite ready for what I saw," Squire said. "Our dollar volume just fell shy of $200 million."

Never in the real estate board's history have there been more houses sold for more money than there were in May.

The actual number -- just over $198 million -- was $42 million higher than June of last year, which owned the previous record.

The indicators that May would set a record were there early.

House price increases

In Linden Woods, Hugh and Milly Matson listed their pretty little pristine blonde-brick bungalow for $227,000. A few days and 12 offers later, the 1,600-square-foot house they bought nine years ago for $145,000 had sold for a Calgary-like price of $265,400.

Meanwhile, in Crescentwood, a rare Tyndall stone house that listed for $275,000 was driven up all the way to $400,000, although the real cost of the 2,100-square-foot home that a Stonewall quarry-owner built for his daughter might be closer to $500,000 after the circa-1912 interior is updated.

On Wellington Crescent, meanwhile, another house became only the fifth Winnipeg home to sell for $1 million or more.

Five years ago, before Winnipeg's housing market began to take on boom-town-like growth, the board would have been happy with a $100-million month.

But it's not just the dollar value that's climbing.

So is the number of sales.
Five years ago, before Winnipeg's housing market began to take on boom-town-like growth, the board would have been happy with a $100-million month.

But it's not just the dollar value that's climbing.

So is the number of sales.

There were a record 1,434 sales last month, compared to previous best of 1,360 in May 2001.

Veteran real estate agents like Janne Young, who sold the Linden Woods bungalow, and Menno Friesen and David DeLeeuw, who have been around for more than two or three decades, all say they've never seen anything like it.

There are a number of reasons for what's changed since the 1990s, when Winnipeg housing prices were as flat as the landscape.

But it comes down to a basic three.

High demand, low inventory and low interest rates have created the perfect storm for the Winnipeg real estate market.

"There just aren't enough listings to satisfy demand throughout the city," says Dianne Himbeault, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's senior market analyst for Manitoba.
Ideally, there should be four or five homes on the market for each buyer.

In Winnipeg, there aren't even two houses for one buyer.

"We have the lowest inventory, I believe, in the country," the real estate board's Squire said. "And it's been that way for the last two years now."

Plus, Winnipeg has the second-lowest vacancy rate, which exacerbates the perfect storm.

In certain neighbourhoods, houses are selling more quickly than they're coming on the market.

For example, last month in Norwood Flats, there were 16 sales but only five new listings.

In Whyte Ridge, 24 sold, compared to nine that were fresh listings.

Garden City had 12 sales to four new listings.

And in Wolseley, 18 homes sold while only five came on stream.
In Linden Woods, where the average sale price is among the city's highest, there were 19 sales and an equal number of listings.

No wonder that last month, multiple bidders pushed nearly half of all sales over list price, while another 11 per cent of homes went for list.

The real estate board doesn't like to talk about average stock, because Winnipeg has a large stock of older, inner-city homes that skew the average.

But lower-end areas like the North End, Weston and Elmwood are among neighbourhoods where prices have climbed the most over the last year.

The highest is North Kildonan, where the average price jumped 34 per cent, from $166,669 to $223,531.

Little wonder that the average Winnipeg selling price hit a high last month, too -- $148,000 -- up 11 per cent from last May, when it was $133,000.

Royal LePage Dynamic Real Estate does a national survey, using a set of generic styles of houses.

That survey tracks just how rapidly prices are spiking.

For example, the average River Heights bungalow was $180,000 in the first quarter, compared to $174,000 three months ago and $161,000 last year.
Compare that to somewhat-similar neighbourhoods in Toronto.

The average price of a bungalow in High Park, an older, leafy Hogtown neighbourhood, is $565,000. Similarly, the typical bungalow in The Beaches, a lakeside area a short subway ride from the centre of town, is more manageable at $406,000.

Rick Preston, the manager of the Royal LePage office on Corydon and Niagara, says the boom has raised some expectations among home-sellers that every house should have multiple bidders.

But it's still generally the premium, well-maintained properties that get those top dollars.

Like the Linden Woods bungalow that went or a whopping $265,400.

Who would have enough confidence in the marketplace to pay that kind of price?

Veteran real estate agent Menno Friesen, as it turns out.

"We better get over the sticker shock," says the CMHC's Dianne Himbeault.

These unreal prices for Winnipeg are for real.

These are the Winnipeg neighbourhoods that saw the biggest jump in average home prices between 2004 and 2005:

2004 2005 % difference
North Kildonan $166,669 $223,531 34.12 %
Weston $48,965 $62,525 27.69%
Deer Lodge/Bruce Park $92,844 $118,431 27.65%
North End $36,817 $45,939 24.57 %
Interlake $83,695 $104,100 24.38%
River Heights North $193,736 $240,476 24.13%
St. Vital $96,888 $120,145 24.01%
Elmwood $60,457 $74,818 23.76%
West End $76,397 $93,413 22.27%
East Kildonan $101,700 $120,833 19.56%
Riverview/Fort Rouge $104,653 $123,959 18.45%
Wolseley $122,917 $144,139 17.27%
Charleswood $169,613 $197,406 16.43%
Canterbury Park $113,207 $131,653 16.29%
Tuxedo $284,925 $328,727 15.37%
River Park South $170,118 $195,342 14.83%


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