I don't know what guns you were looking at but I've been a gunsmith for almost a decade, and "good craftsmanship", "good engineering", and "good materials" are not terms I would use to describe 90% of the market lol
Generally it's around $1000 to buy the gun and all the gear you'll want to play comfortably. So pretty comparable to most other sports. You can get by with much less, but anyone who gets any kind of serious ends up spending $1000+
There aren't really "tournaments" per say, the elite of us are not so critical of our skill to pit team against team on any sort of regular basis. You'll find one major quality of airsofters is the incredible sportsmanship, I like to think we're too humble to try and prove who's the best.
However, there are some national games that number 200-400 people. We're more concerned about who can lead a force to victory and who can work together the best, rather than which individual team is the best.
We love having people come from other provinces to play. It's extremely beneficial to all airsofters to travel and experience other airsoft cultures. It's the best way to share ideas and help the sport get better and more interesting overall.
Get in touch with your local community, pretty sure there are airsofters in St Johns.
And please refer to them as "airsoft guns". They do not qualify as being "replicas", which are illegal.