Same-sex couples in Canada gained most of the legal benefits of marriage in 1999 when the federal and provincial governments extended common law marriages to gay and lesbian couples. In 2005, the Canadian Parliament passed legislation making same-sex marriage legal nationwide.
Canada was the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. The three nations who legalized same-sex marriage before Canada were the Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), and Spain (2005). [via]