January 5 - Mister Ed, an American television situation comedy first airs in syndication and continues on CBS from October 1, 1961, to February 6, 1966. Mister Ed is one of the few series to debut in syndication and be picked up by a major network for prime time.
January 20 –John F. Kennedy is inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States. His inaugural address encompassed the major themes of his campaign and would define his eventual presidency during a time of economic prosperity, emerging social changes, and diplomatic challenges, which ended prematurely on November 22, 1963 by his assassination.
April 12 - The Soviet Union launches the first spacecraft to take a man into space, the Vostok 1 carrying Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin.
May 5 - The United States launches its first man in space, Alan Shepard on the Freedom 7.
June 9 – Michael J. Fox is born in Edmonton, Alberta. He moves with his family at age 10 to British Columbia.
August 5 – The first Six Flags theme park, “Six Flags Over Texas” in Arlington, Texas opens to the public. The park currently has several amusement rides and attractions, bringing in thousands of visitors daily.
August 26 – The new home for the Hockey Hall of Fame opens in Toronto, at the Canadian National Exhibition. On June 18, 1993, the Hockey Hall of Fame officially opens at its current home at BCE Place, now Brookfield Place.
October 5 – “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” starring Audrey Hepburn is released in the United States. More than 50 years later in 2012, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
November 17 - Saskatchewan passes a bill creating Canada’s first government-run health system.
1961 - Pampers diapers are born after P&G Researcher Vic Mills became frustrated with changing his newborn grandson’s cloth diapers. The process was mess; the diapers fit poorly, soaked too quickly and needed to be laundered too frequently.
February 8 – A new stock market index called the Nasdaq debuts. The American/Canadian stock exchange is the second-largest exchange in the world by market capitalization, behind only the New York Stock Exchange.
February 9 - Sylmar earthquake hits the San Fernando Valley area of California. This destructive earthquake occurred in a sparsely populated area of the San Gabriel Mountains, near San Fernando. It lasts about 60 seconds, and, in that brief span of time, took 65 lives, injured more than 2,000, and caused property damage estimated at $505 million.
March 23 - The voting age in the United States is lowered to 18-years old and was then ratified on July 1 when the 26th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified.
May 22 – Ontario Place opens to the public in Toronto.
October 1 – The Walt Disney World Resort opens in Florida. To this day, it is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an attendance of more than 52 million annually, according to UC City Traveler’s “10 Most Popular Theme Parks in the World”.
October 7 – Michael Jackson, the future “King of Pop” releases his solo career debut single, “Got to Be There.” It will go on to sell nearly 900,000 copies in the United States and more than 3.2 million copies worldwide.
November 1 – The “Toronto Sun” begins publication.
January 1 – Gasoline and diesel starts selling by the litre rather than the gallon in Canada.
April: NASA launches the very first Space Shuttle mission. The Space Shuttle Columbia successfully carries two astronauts, Robert Crippen and John Young, into space to complete the inaugural flight on the Space Shuttle program.
June 12 – The first instalment in the Indiana Jones film franchise, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, starring Harrison Ford is released. It became the year’s top-grossing film and remains one of the highest-grossing films ever made.
June 28 – Terry Fox, Canadian athlete, humanitarian and cancer research activist dies in New Westminster, B.C.
July 29 - Lady Diana Spencer marries Charles, Prince of Wales. The wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral was witnessed by 3,500 invited guests and a world-wide television audience of 750 million.
August 1 – MTV (Music Television) is launched
August 19 –Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first female justice on the Supreme Court. President Ronald Reagan nominated her and she received unanimous approval from the U.S. Senate.
September 23 – Quebec bans all public signs in English.
December 28 – Elizabeth Jordan Carr is the United States’ first baby born from in-vitro fertilization procedure and the 15th in the world.