Also, the 17-40 is always brought up in conversations of the best wide angles of canon. How often is the 15-85 brought up? Just saying.
Dunno which forums you've been on ! I certainly don't regard it as being one of Canons best wide angles, certainly not on FF, in fact I'd go so far as to say it's one of the worst, and I own one!
It's an absolute dog wide open, imagine a lens with no measurable resolution in the corners ! 3.6% barrel distortion at the wide end! I don't know just how bad a lens has to get for you, but this certainly isn't good.
Canon are often criticised for their wide angle lenses and even their expensive L primes are not as good as they should be especially considering the price they charge, so it's looking for the best of a bad bunch!
The deal is worse with a crop frame, because there are so many good EF-s lenses available, and many of them have IS. The 17 - 55mm f/2.8 has been mentioned, but consider the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS which is a bit cheaper and is a good performer, or the 17 - 70mm OS which is a great budget choice.