Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 world champion, had earlier led a parade lap before the start in the Ferrari his late father drove to that victory. Some of the marshals were already celebrating.
It was left to Bottas to chase Vettel, who made a clean getaway from the start, with Verstappen nearly passing the Finn before the order settled down. Mercedes sent him into the pits early to deal with the issue but unusually out of sorts at a track where he has won six times, he was then jumped during the stop by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and a race that had quickly become a damage-limitation exercise was proving to be a real struggle. He has a 14-point lead over Vettel and a 38-point edge on Ricciardo.
Defending four-time champion Briton Hamilton finished fifth, extending his run of points-scoring finishes to a record 32 races, but he slipped a point behind German Vettel in the title race.
"I was just really happy to finish", said Hamilton.
The nature of the power-sensitive Circuit Gilles Villeneuve meant Mercedes arrived in Montreal as favourites, although the decision to delay its engine upgrade until the next race in France appeared to swing the initiative back in Ferrari's direction.
Mercedes were never in the victory equation, having not got engine updates ready in time for the race while Ferrari and Red Bull both had new parts. "In the race, it all calms down a bit so that's why I think we're always a bit more competitive in the race".
"Our vehicle wasn't good enough, so I won't get too upset".
But in an impassioned response to complaints about the lack of overtaking during the grand prix, Vettel said the occasional uneventful race in F1 was as inevitable as an uneventful contest in every other sporting sphere.
The Toro Rosso was launched into the air, wrecking both cars.
"This is a power circuit and there is power lost over an engine life".
Verstappen's podium was his second of the year, and it eases some of the pressure he has felt with a series of mistakes that cost him and the Red Bull team in Azerbaijan and Monaco.
"Yesterday the auto balance was great into Turn Ten", he continued, "and usually the last sector is my strongest at this track, but I was just struggling with massive bumps into Turn Ten".