drunkguyfromcanada. :) that's brutal man. it's interesting that everyone has a different experience with this sort of thing. i met an american that's been in canada since the 1960's. he was going to school up here then. on the train ride entering through the border for the first time, a few fellow student asked him about his arrangements with his visa. at that point he realized that he hadn't thought of it at all and as such, had no provisions. he told the border guard that he had no papers and was led to an office where someone immediately registered him as a landed immigrant. no fees, no due dates, no hassle. he never left.
my story is entirely different. i went to grad school up here and have a class 'a' professional title, meaning that they want to keep guys like me up here. i got a work visa after school no problem and a pr with little issue after that (even took that darn english test). compared to your story, it's been breezy.