I picked up my shiny new Canadian passport from the Passport Canada office in Calgary today.
I've been pretty satisfied with the quality of service throughout the process of getting this important little booklet. This is my first time applying for a passport, so I didn't know exactly what to expect. My guarantor told me that the shortest time she had waited in line when applying for a passport was two hours, so when I drove down on October 3rd to submit all my paperwork, I was prepared for the worst with food, water, and entertainment. I even played it safe and paid ($18.00!) for three hours of parking. To my surprise, because I had filled out my application using the fancy online forms, I was put in a priority queue and waited for about two minutes to see an agent. I was finished in a flash: happy about the wait time, kinda' sore about the parking.
As I was leaving, though, I was confused about whether I was supposed to pick up my passport myself or whether it would be mailed to me. I had come with the recommendation of paying an extra $30 to have my passport ready for pickup in three days, but the agent ended up convincing me that, since I didn't need to apply for a visa, I should just wait the normal time for my application to be processed. He even said something about it "coming in registered mail" and that I'd have to sign upon receiving it.
What actually happened (I discovered this when I phoned for clarification this morning) was that I paid an extra $10 to pick up my passport. As far as I understand, it wasn't ready any earlier. Instead of having Passport Canada mail me my passport, I paid extra to have them do nothing and let me drive down to Calgary to take it from them, essentially delivering it myself. I don't really get that part.
Anyway, I have my passport. I'll have to make another entry here soon to explain why I need a passport in the first place.