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Events from the year 1861 in Canada.
- April 14 – A major flood hits Montreal
- April 15 – Nova Scotia: resolution for provincial union by Joseph Howe for referral to the other British North American provinces in July.
- May 13 – The UK declares its neutrality in American Civil War.
- June 1 – The UK bans naval craft or privateers of American belligerents from carrying prizes into British ports or territorial waters.
- November 8 – The Trent Affair: British packet steamer Trent stopped by United States warship in international waters. Two Confederate diplomats taken off and imprisoned in Boston.
- November 28 – Viscount Monck becomes Governor-General.
- December 3 – The UK sends reinforcements to British North America.
- December 23 – The UK demands release of Confederate diplomats taken from Trent.
- December 26 – Confederate diplomats taken from Trent released.
Full date unknown
January to June
July to December
- July 11 – John Best, politician (died 1923)
- September 5 – Tobias Norris, politician and 10th Premier of Manitoba (died 1936)
- September 18 – Ella Cora Hind, journalist and women's rights activist (died 1942)
- September 19 – Charles Ernest Gault, politician (died 1946)
- October 31 – James Bowman, politician (died 1940)
- November 4 – Raoul Dandurand, politician (died 1942)
- November 6 – James Naismith, sports coach and innovator, inventor of basketball (died 1939)
- November 17 – Archibald Lampman, poet (died 1899)
- December 22 – Sara Jeannette Duncan, author and journalist (died 1922)
- February 3 – Louis-Théodore Besserer, notary, soldier, politician, and businessman (born 1785)
- February 13 – Denis-Benjamin Viger, politician, businessman and politician (born 1774)
- November 9 – Howard Douglas, soldier, educator, author, inventor, and colonial administrator (born 1776)