David Murdoch's quartet were off their game from the start, and even suffered the ignominy of conceding the match as they trailed 9-3 after eight ends.
Murdoch's accuracy with his normally-reliable draw shot dropped as low as 45 per cent at one point during the match, compared to the 96 per cent accuracy of Canadian skip Brad Jacobs.
"We just never got off to a good start - they really came at us hard," said Murdoch after the game.
"If you give a 5-1 lead to any team this week you're not going to come back.
"A silver medal's scarily cool - I'll appreciate that more in another five or ten minutes!"
Canada got off to a perfect start in the match as they took two from the opening end; then, after Britain picked up one in the second, Canada picked up three more in the third end and even pulled off a steal in the fourth end to lead 6-1.
The match was as good as over at that point, though once the initial pain of defeat subsides Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow will still be pleased with a silver medal won the hard way, after they came through a play-off just to make the medal matches, and then edged their hard-fought semi-final on the final stone.
British coach Soren Gran had criticised the Canadian team for their "aggressive style" in a genteel sport, comments that had been amplified by the Canadian media.
But the Canadian team - a family affair featuring Jacobs and his two cousins, the brothers Ryan and E.J. Harnden, along with Ruan Fry - were simply too precise for a British team who played below their best.
The gold was the second of the games for Canada at the Ice Cube, with Canada's women having taken the gold in Thursday's women's final - the first time Canada have won both men and women's curling gold at an Olympics.
While the British men will be disappointed with their final performance, it nonetheless remains a record performance from Team GB in curling with both teams collecting a medal at the same Games for the first time in what secures a record-tying Olympic performance for Great Britain.
The bronze medal match proved to be a much closer game, with an extra end needed to decide the winner between China and Sweden.
With a low scoring start to the early ends, Sweden, led by skip Niklas Edin, found themselves just ahead 2-1 at the half way point.
China hit back with two in the sixth before Sweden secured one in the final end to eventually tie the game at 4-4.
But two major technical blunders by the Chinese opened the door for Sweden, and with skip Lui Rui failing on a difficult takeout with the final shot, Edin and his rink secured two and the all important 6-4 win.
It was his country's first medal in men's curling since the sport returned to the Olympic program in 1998.
- Sports & Recreation