As a Canadian, our country has many, many cultural traits in common with the USA
There's also a lot of differences. Speaking broadly, Americans tend to be more individualistic than Canadians. You can see this manifest itself in all manner of issues, firearms being just one. The historical and cultural reasons for this difference are many, and would be a long discussion best conducted in person, over beer. :)
Now certainly my friends in rural parts of Canada own long guns for hunting, but thatâ(TM)s different.
You don't know a single person that owns firearms for reasons other than hunting? Target shooting is nearly as popular in Canada as the United States, and you've got some of the same practical shooting leagues (IDPA) we do. I think this speaks more to your own urban-centric viewpoint, not your Canadian citizenship, I could easily see your statement being uttered with "New York City" in place of "Vancouver".
In Canada to buy a gun you need to be licensed, the same way you do to drive a car or own a dog. To Canadians this seems perfectly reasonable and the fact that many of my American friends go bananas if you even suggest such a thing is a complete and utter head-scratcher to us.
I live in a jurisdiction (New York State) that requires licensing of handgun ownership. Most American jurisdictions require licensing to carry concealed. The going "bananas" part can be related to the previous comment about our individualism, a basic distrust of Government, something that isn't in the Canadian DNA, for better or worse. I could share my own opinions on the matter of firearms licensing, but they are rather lengthy.....
Just so you know, I hold Canadian firearms licenses. I procured them back in the day when I was traveling back and forth between Buffalo and Detroit, on a weekly basis. Going through Ontario is the fastest way to make that trip, and for various reasons I wished to have my firearm with me in Detroit. I don't make that trip anymore, but I do shoot in an IDPA league that occasionally has matches in Ontario, so the Canadian licenses still see use. There are two different licenses, a possession and acquisition license, along with an authorization to transport restricted weapons (any handgun is a "restricted" weapon under Canadian law....) Neither license was that hard to get, it was an expensive paper chase, particularly for the ATT license, but in the final analysis it was less onerous than the process of applying for a New York State Pistol License. I've gotten some strange looks from customs when I declare my firearm, in part because they rarely deal with Americans holding a PAL or ATT license (typically Americans bring hunting rifles into Canada, which aren't "restricted" firearms, and they simply pay a fee at the border to make it all legit), but they've never given me any grief about it.
As an amusing anecdote, I've crossed the border more times than I can count, and the differing priorities of Canadian and American customs have always amused the hell out of me. Crossing the border into Canada, first question from the Canadian customs officer: "Do you have any firearms, mace, explosives, pepper spray, brass knuckles, swords, daggers, or knives with you?" Returning to the United States, first question from the American customs officer: "Do you have any alcohol or tobacco with you?" I guess our priorities are different than yours. ;)