Wish my experience was more typical but I walked into the passport office in Calgary, dropped off my stuff after a fairly lengthy line wait and had my passport within a week. My roomie Stef went the traditional route and had hers within the month though. Again, don't know if that is usual.
As one who gets passports for people for a living...my advice. Go in person. I know it is harder for you living in the US, it will mean a visit to Canada (but that isn't so bad, eh?). We mail them from the North all the time and even with our Northern mail bag delay the process can still take MONTHS...even for a renewal. If you are there in person you can always pay more and get the emergency one...it only takes 3 days. Good luck. Mine is due within twelve months as well and like you I'm already starting to wonder how to time trips around that.
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