Laid down as the Montrealer, this traditional styled Great Lakes bulk carrier was constructed in two sections. Ordered in late 1960 by "Canada's own almost home-grown Greek shipping tycoon" (Montreal Star weekly magazine section of June 1, 1963) Mr. Phrixos Basil Papachristidis for his company Papachristidis Co. Ltd., Montreal, QC. and financed by Hiram Walker and Sons Ltd. (distillers of Canadian Club Whiskey), the 230’ (70.1m) bow section was built as hull # 77 by George T. Davie & Sons Ltd., Lauzon, QC and the stern portion built as hull # 278 by Canadian Vickers Ltd., Montreal, QC. The stern section was launched October 19, 1961 and the bow section on October 25, 1961; the two sections being joined at the Champlain Drydock at Lauzon. The vessel’s name was changed and on April 12, 1962; she was christened Montrealais at the Canadian Vickers yard in Montreal. Canadian Vickers Ltd. retained ownership of the new laker during her construction and after her launch.  The Montrealais was bareboat chartered back to Papachristidis Co. Ltd., who operated and managed the vessel.  Eastern Lake Carriers Ltd. of Montreal, a joint venture of the Papachristidis and Irving families (a well known name on the Canadian east coast), took over ownership of the vessel in 1965 with Papachristidis Co. Ltd. remaining as managers.

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