I'm in the same situation as you are, Nev.
And I'm a heck of a lot farther away from anything than Ottawa! I've even picked up a hand-made half-plate camera and holders from Ty Guillory to get me started. John Coffer's DVD's seem a must, but I agree that getting some time in person for instruction is vital.
I'm willing to travel, obviously...PM me if you're interested on pairing up for this!