The first is that if you are flying with Etihad or Emirates, you can get a greatly discounted visit visa issued by either of these airlines. This story highlights that for $61.50 on Emirates and $68 on Etihad, you can obtain a Visit visa for the UAE - if you book ahead. (Click the link and read about it as there are a lot of qualifying requirements).
Secondly. I finally got in touch with the UAE embassy here in Oman (their number is 2440 0000). I asked their immigration section about what the process would be for Canadians living in the GCC who wish to visit the UAE. The answer I received was.... confusing. They wanted to know what my job was here, who my sponsor was, and then finally how long I have been here in Oman for. Rather strange, it seems that there is some confusion to the rules I guess. They were insistent on one thing though, that Canadians living here in Oman (or any GCC country) must have been here for at least 6 months before the GCC visa will be granted.
Seems strange to me, but there you have it!