The Canadian men won Pool D, defeating France 20-0 and the U.S. 26-7 while tying Australia 28-28. Canada will play Kenya in the quarter-finals Saturday.
"It is really special, we haven't had too many of these so we will cherish it and look forward to Day 2," Canada captain Nanyak Dala was quoted on www.irb.com. "Now that we are back as a core team we are working hard to show what we can do when we get a chance to get on the circuit.
"We are going to be giving it a go on Day 2, playing hard and hopefully upsetting a lot more teams."
In the other quarter-finals, it's Fiji versus France, Samoa versus Wales and New Zealand versus Portugal.
Canada and Portugal are both new core teams on the expanded sevens circuit. England and South Africa were relegated to consolation play Saturday.
Phil Mack, Ciaran Hearn, Sean Duke and Chauncey O'Toole scored tries for Canada in a downpour against the U.S. to seal the place in the round of eight.
A try by teenager Justin Douglas completed Canada's comeback against Australia, capping a rally from 28-14 down with less than two minutes remaining. Jeff Hassler also scored a try to set up the comeback.
The Canadian women, defending champions in Dubai, lost their opening match 15-12 to upstart Russia before bouncing back to beat China 32-0.
They finished the day with a 12-12 tie with New Zealand and will play Australia in a quarter-final Saturday.
In a companion competition, a Canadian developmental side dubbed the Maple Leafs defeated Kenya 17-0, the United Arab Emirates 25-0 and a Russia Selects side 32-0.