Rene Arnoux finally recorded a win for his new Ferrari team, and fittingly it came at the renamed Gilles Villeneuve Circuit in a car carrying the same number (27) as the local hero. On a track which most agreed represented the last chance for the normally-aspirated engines to challenge the turbos, it was the latter which dominated the podium.
The start of the race was delayed for 40 minutes due to a power failure that affected the timing system amongst other things, but starting on pole Arnoux led from start to finish in a clinical display. "This is the win I've been waiting for," he said. "I knew this car would win sooner or later."
Alain Prost's Renault was briefly second before a storming Riccardo Patrese overtook him in his Brabham, but it was apparent that the Brabham was no match for Arnoux.
Piquet's day ended on the 16th lap with a broken throttle cable, allowing Patrick Tambay into third but he immediately started to suffer from a misfire and was passed by Eddie Cheever's Renault. He resolved his own problems thanks to a device in the cockpit that allowed the system to be bled in the case of a vapour lock.
Back down the field Keke Rosberg was the best of the non-turbos but his flickering hopes ended when he was baulked for several laps by the Alfa of Andrea de Cesaris. He eventually came fourth.
Patrese was second when his gearbox broke, allowing Cheever and Tambay into second and third but it was Arnoux who owned the race: the only time the others saw him was on the podium. Cheever ended with a badly blistered hand caused by battling with a transmission problem which meant his gear lever had to be forcibly held in place when in fifth.
Prost, who finished fifth, retained his lead in the championship but the first four places were covered by only five points.