The African debutantes had looked all set for a historic win after a chaotic opening in which they went one down and could have conceded several more. But the Canucks stormed back and two goals inside five minutes from captain Sara Stratigakis and Hannah Taylor handed them victory and put them top of Group B, ahead of Germany on goals scored.
Cameroon steadied, though, and pulled level on 17 minutes when captain Soline Djoubi fired home from an indirect free-kick inside the box after keeper Marissa Zucchetto had been penalised for picking up a back-pass. Matters then went from bad to worse for Canada just before half-time when Claudia Dabda bustled her way through before crashing a low shot beyond the helpless Zuchetto.
That was the way the scoring stayed until 76 minutes, when Cameroon keeper Carole Mimboe conceded the clearest of penalties, racing out to bring substitute Lauren Raimondo crashing to the ground. Skipper Stratigakis then took responsibility for the kick and dispatched it superbly, directing a textbook kick into the top-right corner.
And, having restored parity, Canada then went on to snatch victory. Defender Hannah Taylor was their heroine, securing all three points by meeting Julia Grosso's floated corner and bulleting the ball into the top-left corner with a thumping, match-winning header.
Live Your Goals Player of the Match: Deanne Rose (CAN)