To prevent split ends: Don't brush hair when its wet,Don't over condition and over wash. Try to avoid using heat based products. !
There's a Brazilian technique called velaterapia that involves actually BURNING the split ends off with a lit candle, apparently it's popular with Victoria's Secret models and is offered by at least one high end salon in New York. It seems like it's very new in north America, but apparently it's been popular in Latin America for decades. I'm intrigued by the idea and would consider getting it done on my hair, but I doubt it's hit Vancouver yet.