Thanks for this. Always nice to know others are in the disheartening position of not having articling yet.
1) For cold calling/emailing I've been using my network to make connections. So far I haven't found too many jobs on this front (because they are areas of law I have no interest in practicing/no experience or the pay is just way, way too low). I have okay grades. I don't know what my percentage is, but I've got a 3.4 with a couple course prizes.
2) I have no idea of the quality of the positions but my school's career office has told me to keep my head up and that there will be a continuous stream of positions open. Looking at last year's post-articling thread, it looks like jobs continue to be posted for the next few months. So, there's a reason to keep one's head up. I will say that my career office doesn't tend to be overly rosy so I put stock in what they say.
3) I have no desire to do the LPP. I don't want to pay money to make myself unmarketable. Law is a stratified profession and I've been warned by my friends who already practice to be very careful with this route.
At this point, I'll continue to apply to jobs as they come but I have no problem reapplying for the articling recruit.