January 1 - Gasoline is 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 homosexual population.
March 19 - Ontario election: Bill Davis's PCs win a majority
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 mile) section of the Trans-Canada Highway in Ontario where Terry Fox was forced to end his run, was re-named 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 28 - Calgary is awarded the 1988 Winter Olympics
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 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
Power Corporation sells Canada Steamship Lines Inc to Paul Martin and Laurence Pathy
Arts and Literature
Margaret Atwood - True Stories
Bill Bissett - Northern Birds in Coulour
W.O. Mitchell - How I Spent My Summer Holidays
Gordon R. Dickson - Lost Dorsai
Nancy Huston - Les Variations Goldberg
See 1981 Governor General's Awards for a complete list of winners and finalists for those awards.
Books in Canada First Novel Award: W.D. Valgardson, Gentle Sinners
Gerald Lampert Award: Elizabeth Allan, The Shored Up House
Marian Engel Award:
Pat Lowther Award: M. Travis Lane, Divinations and Short Poems 1973-1978
Stephen Leacock Award: Gary Lautens, Take My Family...Please! John
Vicky Metcalf Award: Monica Hughes
David Cronenberg's Scanners is released
James Cameron's Piranha II: The Spawning, his first directing effort, is released
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains is released
January 21 - Dany Heatley, hockey player
June 28 - Terry Fox, cancer activist
December 28 - Allan Dwan early film director