The ferryboat, originally named the Arthur Cardin, was built in 1951 and carried people to and from Sorel and Berthier. In 1967, the boat was reborn as a traveling theater and art center for the World Expo in Montreal and it included a theater, foyers on three floors, bars, a restaurant, cabins for staff, and dressing rooms for actors. L’Escale proudly plied the waters in front of the famous Habitat 67 and enchanted thousands with its floating arts. After time and disuse, the boat was again resurrected — this time as a Bota Bota, a floating spa located at the foot of rue McGill in the old port of Montreal.
The boat had sustained considerable damage to its hull and it took two years of renovations on dry land to transform the former ferryboat/theater into a relaxing guest spa. As the spa would only float and not travel along the waters, the engines were removed to make way for guest locker rooms, and additional infrastructure was added for treatment rooms, pools, offices, a cafe, relaxation lounges and more.