Norway came from behind to deny Even Pellerud a win against his old side, second-half goals from Ragnhild Gulbrandsen and Ane Stangeland-Horpestad (52 and 81) seeing off a Canada side who had gone ahead through Candace-Marie Chapman's 33rd-minute header.
Over 30,000 noisy fans turned out at Hangzhou's Dragon Stadium to watch Group C's highest-ranked sides face off, and they were treated to a tight battle between two teams with contrasting football philosophies.
It was the slick-passing Norway who started the better but after weathering an early storm, Canada emerged to take a surprise lead with 12 minutes of the first half remaining. Christine Sinclair was the goal's architect, scrapping her way into a position to tee up Chapman to slam home the opener.
There had been little to separate the sides in the opening half but Norway seized the initiative after the break, dominating proceedings and grabbing a deserved equaliser when Ragnhild Gulbrandsen angled a superb header past Erin McLeod just six minutes after the restart.
And it was no more than the Norwegians deserved when their captain Ane Stangeland-Horpestad struck the decisive goal, scrambling the ball home from a tantalising Camilla Huse corner.
Player of the Match: Ane Stangeland-Horpestad (NOR)