So, my brother is getting a Taylor 114ce (his dream guitar) for his grade 12 grad, and I want to get him an acoustic amp to go along with it. Problem is, I don't really know anything about acoustic guitar amplifiers.

he's looking for something that he can gig with, so an XLR output is ideal (he'll use the amp as a monitor). beyond that, his main concern is that the amp be as true to the original acoustic tone as possible while still giving him the ability to shape the tone and deal with rooms with poor acoustics.

my budget for this gift is in the $250-$300 CAD ballpark, though that can change if need be

Personally speaking, I'd use the venue's PA as an amplifier and spend that money on a better guitar (no disrespect to your brother, but low-end Taylors tend to be very overpriced). Also, if I recall currency conversions correctly 300 Canadian is around 200-250 USD. That's going to be just getting into the decent amp range. I'm sure patticake could one-up me here, but I'm just calling it like I see it.
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try the sexolydian scale.
Fender Acoustasonic Jr DSP ($499) or Acoustasonic 30 DSP ($349) would be a great choice. Both have dual inputs so he can sing through them as well. Nice effects too. I have the Jr and love it! CLICK HERE to see them at musicians friend.
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