After over 20 years of having this site in place I have decided to remove most of the content except for our story.
The systen is constantly changing and the Canadian government site is much more user-friendly now than it was when we went through the process. The site makes it quite easy to download the forms and apply without using a lawyer or consultant and, in fact as they point out, all applications are treated the same way regardless of whether you do it yourself or not. It is not a cheap process and fees are not refunded if you are rejected. I strongly recommend using their self assessment tool.
I also recommend you read my article about post-landing depression. Yes seriously! Most of us go through it to an extent and it is good to know that it is a normal reaction.