As far as a motherboard goes, this will depend on what processor you decide to get. If you go for an Intel 3rd Generation processor (Core i3, i5 or i7), you will need a motherboard that is compatible with the processor. If you go with an AMD processor, the motherboard will be one built for AMD.
The motherboard is the basis for your system, so I would get a very good one that allows for some of the newer technology out there such as USB 3.0. If you go with an Intel processor, I would suggest looking at the Z77 boards. This is an example of a mid-range Gigabyte board. It has plenty of options and features including SRT or Smart Response Technology. This allows you to add a small SSD (solid state drive) which can use used as a cache drive to really help speed things up. Gigabyte Z77 Motherboard
I just got the latest Best Graphics Cards for the Money from Tom's Hardware today. It breaks them down by price and then goes from there. You might find some good information there. Best Graphics Cards for the Money January 2013
And don't forget about the case. Make sure you get a good one with plenty of fans for cooling.
I know eCollegePC doesn't ship to Canada, but their configurator is a great tool to look at components. This one was $910.
Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4Ghz 6MB Cache Quad-Core
Stock Intel LGA1155 Heatsink and Fan
ASRock Z77 Pro 4 (Intel Z77 HDMI, 2xPCI-E, 8xSATA, 4xDDR3)
8GB (4GBx2) PC3 10666 DDR3 1333Mhz Memory Lifetime Warranty
24X LG SATA Dual Layer DVD /-RW/CDRW w/Nero 2GB GeForce GTX 650 Ti GDDR5 PCI-E DVI/HDMI (Major Brand)
Microsoft Windows 7 64bit
Case Apevia Black/Blue X-Trooper (4 5.25, 5 3.5) 5 Fans, Audio/USB/eSATA
600 watt Thermaltake TR2 W0388RU
Onboard LAN included
Onboard Sound included
Wires and Cables neatly tied up away from fans
3 Year Parts and Labor Warranty
Ask your tech guy what he recommends too.