Three years ago I went on my big search for winter tires. I'm from London with family around the central Ontario area. At times we can get a lot of snow off Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, and at other times it's not that bad. I was looking for something that would do a good job but would also have a good life span.
These are the following tires I started looking at...
Michelin Arctic Alpine
Pirelli Winter Ice
Toyo's Proxies ( I think that's what they were called...with the walnuts in the tire compound)
But.. after a lengthy search I found what I consider to be the best winter tire for the $$..
The Nokian Hakkapeliitta !
I have had my set for 3 years now and they are absolutely incredible ! The grip on both snow and ice is excellent. I will admit that they are not an ice radial, and probably the Bliz and the Toyo's will outperform them on a hockey rink - but these tires (Nok's) are fantastic. They also wear very well. I regularly make the 401 stretch between London and Waterloo, so I do some bare highway driving with them, and after 3 years they are in great shape. The tire guy I bought them from suggested that 7 seasons was probably a good life span (possibly more), whereas I have known someone who needed new Bridgestones after only 3 seasons.
I'm not sure where you are in Canada or how much snow you encounter normally during the winter ?
Overall, my recommendation would be to seriously look at the Nokian Hakka's when you decide to make a purchase.
Good luck on your search !