Thanks Lorne. I'm guessing from your answers that the browser is waiting on the network (do you see "Waiting for response ...." or "Connecting to ..." or "Looking up ...." in your browsers status bar at the bottom when waiting? If so, which is it?)
One other thing to try - if you have a Google account, try logging out of it. Maybe there's something about your account that is making Maps slow to load.
When you say it takes a long time to load when you zoom out on the map, do you see individual tiles of the map trickle in, or do you wait a long time and then have them all load at once?
I'm on vacation next week, so I may not respond on this thread for a while, but I'll forward it to some of my colleagues and ask them to take a look at your answers.