I'm not trying to be envious ... not at all... really not at all... (Okay, I do try to think of things that are above, you see) but I just can't help wishing I own a beautiful house that is the second most expensive private residence in Ottawa, capital city of Canada. We're looking at a house that is worth a whooping RM28.3 million! Come on, be honest, friends-wouldn't you wish you own something as magnificient as that?
Wow! I was in freezing wintry -40 c degree Western Canada, struggling to make ends meet and to self-support myself at university-in those days there were no places at public Malaysian Bumiputra (Malay/native) universities for us- when I first heard from Malaysian diplomatic staff that our Chief Minister's daughter, Jamilah Taib (pictured at far left-beautiful lady, of course) was a famous student in Eastern Canada, way back in 1989. Little did I know she would settle down with Sean Murray in that part of the world!
Just read the story in today's popular Ottawa Citizen.
"There is marble and the colour of gold everywhere, and there must be 20 chandeliers on the ground floor. It's like a palace, really."Rockcliffe 'palace' Ottawa's No. 2 home
New house valued at $9,609,000, 2nd only to Cowpland mansion
By Michael Prentice, The Ottawa CitizenJanuary 19, 2009
The traditionally-styled Rockcliffe Park home of Sean Murray and Jamilah Taib, below, has impressed their well-heeled neighbours and earned a $9,609,000 assessment from the Municipal Property Assessment Corp.
Photograph by: Chris Mikula,, The Ottawa Citizen
The handsome new home of Ottawa developer Sean Murray and his wife, Jamilah Taib, has shot to No. 2 among Ottawa's most expensive private residences, as measured by the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. (MPAC).
The couple's house at 688 Manor Ave. in Rockcliffe Park, completed late last year, is worth $9,609,000, assessors have decided. That puts it second only to that of neighbours Marlen and Michael Cowpland. The Cowplands' modern mansion at 234 Perley Crt. has an updated assessment value of $12,535,000.
The Cowpland residence has been controversial because of its ultra-modern look, which some traditionalists have grumbled is out of place in Rockcliffe Park, where many of Ottawa's most expensive homes are located.
The new home of Mr. Murray and Ms. Taib has a more traditional look, which blends in with older, and much smaller, houses nearby. Its construction has been the talk of Rockcliffe for months.
Well-heeled neighbours were impressed when the couple showed off their new home at a recent house-warming and Christmas party.
"It's incredible," one guest said. "It is not so much a house as a mansion. A lot of the guests were likening it to an old English manor. But it is a very new English manor."
The guest, who asked not to be identified, added: "There is marble and the colour of gold everywhere, and there must be 20 chandeliers on the ground floor. It's like a palace, really."
The home's proud owners also offered dinner for 14 at their residence in a recent auction in aid of nearby Ashbury College. The catalogue described the house as a "magnificent home gleaming with marble and gold." The prize went for $3,000.
The Murray-Taib home has cathedral ceilings throughout the ground floor, and about 12,500 square feet of living space. It takes up much of the lot size of less than one acre. It was designed by the architectural firm of Nicholas Caragianis.
MPAC's assessments are used to determine property taxes, meaning Mr. Murray and Ms. Taib will have a property tax bill of about $100,000. The Cowplands will pay about $130,000.
Like many home owners, both couples will get a bit of a break on their property taxes this year and the next two because the new assessments are being phased in over four years.
Assessors decided a home like that of Mr. Murray and Ms. Taib would have increased in value by about 14 per cent between January 2005, when assessments were last done, and January 2008, when the latest assessments took effect.
The Murray-Taib home took over the No. 2 spot from the home of Beata and Philip Garel-Jones at 120 Lansdowne Rd., also in Rockcliffe Park. Their home was assessed at $9,325,000. The couple bought it from technology multimillionaire Antoine Paquin for $8.25 million several years ago.
Michael Potter and Terence Matthews, two other technology multimillionaires, are fourth and fifth on the list, compiled by the Citizen from property rolls. Mr. Potter's property was assessed to be worth $8,443,000, about $3 million of which was in the value of land he acquired from his back-fence neighbour, the U.S. ambassador.
Mr. Matthews' home in Kanata was one of only four from outside Rockcliffe in the top 25 assessments.
The most valuable homes in Ottawa are owned by either property developers or high-tech moguls. The sole exception is Daniel Bellemare, one of the owners of Farm Boy fruit and vegetable stores. His renovation and expansion of a traditional Rockcliffe home has earned praise from residents who deplore a trend to demolish old homes in the village and replace them with much larger new houses.
Ottawa Senators hockey star Jason Spezza's new home did not make the top 25 on assessed value, even though he paid $3.75 million for the modern house on Mayfair Avenue, off Island Park Drive. The house had been listed for $6 million. The house's assessed value for 2008 is $2,316,000. That means Mr. Spezza will be getting a good deal on his property taxes, or the purchase price was high, or a combination of the two.
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Ottawa's 25 Highest-Assessed Homes
Address Owners 2005 assessment 2008
234 Perley Crt. Marlen Cowpland $11,815,000 $12,535,000
688 Manor Ave. Sean Murray, Jamilah Taib $8,418,000 $9,609,000
120 Lansdowne Rd. Beata & Philip Garel-Jones $8,680,000 $9,325,000
299 Soper Pl. Michael Potter $8,091,000 $8,443,000
1-7 Oakes Wood Terence Matthews $5,271,000 $5,798,000
390 Buena Vista Rd. Daniel Bellemare $4,275,000 $5,260,000
572 Manor Rd. Manju Singhal $4,488,000 $5,259,000
540 Hillsdale Rd. Subhash Malhotra $3,668,000 $4,438,000
313 Acacia Ave. Stephen & Sandra Assaly $3,349,000 $3,788,000
211 Soper Pl. Subhash Aggerwal $3,331,000 $3,783,000
361 Mariposa Ave. Nicholas & Suzanne Dawes $3,421,000 $3,677,000
247 Soper Pl. Shirley Yang $3,032,000 $3,451,000
118 Willingdon Rd. Angela Singhal $2,939,000 $3,369,000
291 Buchan Rd. David Jonathan Berks $2,816,000 $3,351,000
89 Glebe Ave. Claire Bennett $3,075,000 $3,344,000
480 Manor Ave. David Marshall $2,867,000 $3,331,000
393 Fernhill Rd. Konstantin & Jennifer Kotzeff $2,916,000 $3,325,000
16 Crescent Rd. Mary Jane Manley $2,908,000 $3,321,000
725 Manor Ave. John & Sherril Wallack $2,794,000 $3,276,000
503 Minto Pl. Hojjat & Carol Ann Salemi $2,872,000 $3,247,000
111 Coltrin Rd. Kenneth & Christina Loeb $3,303,000 $3,154,000
4 Audubon Pl. Alexander & Lorna Maclaren $2,469,000 $3,111,000
474 Lansdowne Rd. Andrew Lebel $2,765,000 $3,100,000
1721 Old Montreal Rd. Leighton & Deborah Powell $2,655,000 $3,017,000
255 Soper Pl. Timothy & Michele Hayman $2,684,000 $2,948,000
Note: These are estimated values set by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), an agency formed by the Ontario government. They represent what the homes might have sold for in January 2005 and January 2008. Some of the homes were not built in 2005, or have been modified or expanded since then. In these cases, the 2005 value is what the home might have sold for if it had existed at that time.
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