PSB is another Canadian speaker company that would be worth looking into. You ought to be able to find a place to listen to them, even if they are cheaper buying through the US.
As far as towers vs. bookshelves, for bass heavy music (e.g., rap and techno), I prefer bookshelves with a sub over towers because (a) flexibility of subwoofer placement for best bass response in the room, (b) a good sub will outperform towers at lower bass frequencies, and (c) so I can run the sub a little hot and emphasize the bass
For a $1000 budget for bookshelves and a sub, look at the Jamo Sub 650 on sale for $300 at Vanns
. That's a 12" sub with a 650 watt Bash amp, a great deal at that price. It also is a sealed sub, which should give you a little bit tighter bass response over comparably priced (and value) ported subs. That would then leave you $700 for the bookshelves.