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1981 in Canada
Events from the year 1981 in Canada.
- January 1 - Gasoline and diesel are sold by the litre rather than the gallon.
- February 5 - More than three hundred men are arrested after police sweeps of Toronto bathhouses. The arrests create an outcry among Canada's gay population, and become a historic turning point in Canadian LGBT history. See 1981 Toronto bathhouse raids.
- March 19 - Ontario election: Bill Davis's PCs win a majority.
- June 4 - NABET employees at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation hold a long strike, disrupting programming for much of the Spring.
- July 17 – The government of British Columbia named a 2,639-metre (8,658 foot) peak in the Rocky Mountains after Terry Fox.
- July 30 – The 83-kilometre (52 mi) section of the Trans-Canada Highway in Ontario where Terry Fox was forced to end his run, was renamed in his honour.
- September 1 - Quebec's French language sign law comes into effect.
- September 1 - The Albertan and federal governments sign an energy agreement.
- September - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission holds pay-TV hearings in Hull, Quebec.
- September - West Edmonton Mall opens
- October 16 - Canada Post becomes a crown corporation.
- November 5 - Canadian government and all provinces, except Quebec, agree on how to patriate the Canadian Constitution.
- November 13 - The Canadarm is first deployed aboard the Space Shuttle.
- November 17 - James Lee becomes premier of Prince Edward Island, replacing Angus MacLean.
- November 30 - Howard Pawley becomes premier of Manitoba, replacing Sterling Lyon.
Full date unknown
Arts and literature
- January 11 – Jonathan Mandick, rower
- January 15 – Dylan Armstrong, shot putter
- January 16 – Nic Youngblud, water polo player
- January 17 – Julien Cousineau, alpine skier
- January 20 – Owen Hargreaves, soccer player
- January 21 – Dany Heatley, ice hockey player
- February 13 – Kristina Kiss, soccer player
- February 24 – Adam Kunkel, hurdler
- March 14 – Isabelle Pearson, judoka
- April 6 – Auburn Sigurdson, softball player
- April 16 – Matthieu Proulx, football player
- April 19 – Hayden Christensen, actor
- May 20 – Morgan Knabe, swimmer
- June 21 – Kevin Mitchell, water polo player
- July 9 – Kimveer Gill, murderer responsible for the Dawson College shooting (d.2006)
- July 21 – Anabelle Langlois, figure skater
- August 9 – Lauren Bay Regula, softball player
- August 19 – Taylor Pyatt, ice hockey player
- September 7 – Annie Martin, beach volleyball player
- September 26 – Kaila Holtz, softball player
- October 4 – Justin Williams, ice hockey player
- October 25 – Gary Reed, middle distance athlete
- November 20 – Christian Bernier, volleyball player
- January 5 - Lomer Brisson, politician and lawyer (b.1916)
- January 16 - John Oates Bower, politician, businessman and executive (b.1901)
- April 10 - George Carlyle Marler, politician, notary and philatelist (b.1901)
- May 4 - Samuel Rosborough Balcom, politician (b.1888)
- May 23 - David Lewis, lawyer and politician (b.1909)
- May 29 - Walter Russell Shaw, politician and Premier of Prince Edward Island (b.1887)
- June 28 - Terry Fox, humanitarian, athlete and cancer treatment activist (b.1958)
- September 23 - Dan George, actor and author (b.1899)
- November 3 - Thérèse Casgrain, feminist, reformer, politician and Senator (b.1896)
- December 28 - Allan Dwan, film director, producer and screenwriter (b.1885)