Do you plan on becoming a Canadian citizen? If not, your best bet may be to stick with credit cards for US citizens. Otherwise you will have to start out with a fresh credit history in Canada and there's no point in building that unless you plan on staying there permanently. And like you said, the secured cards they would start you with are laughable.
As far as US cards with no foreign transaction fee, the Capital One Cash card
might be worth considering. No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, 1.5% cash back.
Disclosure: I am a moderator/paid staff of this site, which does have advertising relationships with some credit cards that are discussed and linked to. Regardless, anything I say is my honest opinion.
Current Cards: American Express:
Blue Cash, Simply Cash Bank of America:
WorldPoints Platinum Plus Chase:
Amazon, British Airways, Cash Plus Rewards, Freedom, Ink Cash Citi:
Thank You Premier, Dividend Platinum Select Discover:
MorePrimary Everyday Card: American Express Blue CashPrimary Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred