Health-related quality of life (HRQL) was examined in relation to prevalent fractures in 4816 community-dwelling Canadian men and women 50 years and older participating in the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos). Fractures were of three categories: clinically recognized main fractures, subclinical vertebral fractures and fractures at other sites. Main fractures were divided and analyzed at the hip, spine, wrist/forearm, pelvis and rib sites. Baseline assessments of anthropometric data, medical history, therapeutic drug use, spinal radiographs and prevalent fractures were obtained from all participants. The SF-36 instrument was used as a tool to measure HRQL. A total of 652 (13.5%) main fractures were reported. Results indicated that hip, spine, wrist/forearm, pelvis and rib fractures had occurred in 78 (1.6%), 40 (0.8%), 390 (8.1%), 19 (0.4%) and 125 (2.6%) individuals, respectively (subjects may have had more than one main fracture). Subjects who had experienced a main prevalent fracture had lower HRQL scores compared with non-fractured participants. The largest differences were observed in the physical functioning (-4.0; 95% confidence intervals (CI): -6.0, -2.0) and role-physical functioning domains (-5.8; 95% CI: -9.5, -2.2). In women, the physical functioning domain was most influenced by hip (-14.9%; 95% CI: -20.9, -9.0) and pelvis (-18.1; 95% CI: -27.6, -8.6) fractures. In men, the role-physical domain was most affected by hip fractures (-35.7; 95% CI: -60.4, -11.1). Subjects who experienced subclinical vertebral fractures had lower HRQL scores than those without prevalent fractures. In conclusion, HRQL was lower in the physical functioning domain in women and the role-physical domain in men who sustained main fractures at the hip. Subclinical vertebral fractures exerted a moderate effect on HRQL.