I live near Steveston in BC and wanted to comment to original poster. Totally this is a quaint, walkable village within a larger city and metro area. Would be hard however to get by completely without a car - basically anywhere in BC, unless you are in the highest density part of Vancouver - I know people there who are members of a car co-op and love it. Schools in Steveston area are excellent. Housing is *very* expensive. You mentioned woods, and you cannot have both walkability and wooded property. You would find woods in the South Surrey area, close to White Rock - this is very close to the border. Also beautiful trees, mountains and nature in North Vancouver. Also very good schools, and very expensive housing.
Pemberton is now essentially a bedroom community of the ski town of Whistler. Many who live in Pemberton would commute to work in Whistler. Definitely a small town, but with a lot of real estate development and influx of new money that is likely eroding that. There is no hospital up there - nearest one is Squamish.
Other posters commented on weather - it is not so much the rain IMO as the gray winter skies, which are definitely depressing. Many suffer from SAD. Have to take the attitude that rain/gray skies will not keep you indoors. One great thing you notice is that when the sun does come out, *everybody* heads outside!
Re immigration process - I believe you either qualify on your own, based on your education, work experience, language skills, etc. or you can qualify as a "foreign worker" if you have a job offer already. The later would be a much faster process, but limited to specific jobs that are experiencing shortages.
More generally on the differences in the two countries:
Re government - Canada is weak on national policy issues (e.g. environment), and strong on provincial issues (health, education). USA is the opposite. If I recall my history correctly - when it came time to form the first Canadian government in 1867, the US had just fought a civil war due to too much strength in the governments of the individual states. The US constitution was intentionally drafted to limit the power of the central government, to keep the power in the hands of the people. To prevent a similar fate, the Canadian constitution was drafted to limit power of provinces (at that time health, education, and private business were matters of minor importance). Over the next century, matters of governance changed considerably and now Canadian provinces are in charge of what matters most to us, and the central gov't can't make a law to save its life. The opposite is true in the US, where we see super strong central agencies such as EPA, DEA, FDA. So for the political "flavour" of your chosen destination, look to the provincial government.
Some say the fact that Canada was not formed through revolution is part of what makes us different from Americans. Rather we politely knocked on the Queen's door and said, "Excuse us mum, but would you mind handing over the constitution?" And she said, "Yes, we are quite happy to take you off the books - darn colonies are so expensive! Go off and make yourselves a nice little country." Our colonial connection also means we have a different international reputation - more of a team player, so to speak.
Re culture - some say that the US is a "melting pot" while Canada is a "mosaic". When you immigrate to America, you become American first and foremost and assilimilation is key to success. Canada seems more willing to tolerate a desire to maintain one's original cultural identity.
Intentfullady, I imagine you are somewhere near Nelson?
Can't remember what else I was going to comment on...