Weather

Rain, wind tear roof from performing arts conservatory

Strong winds and downpour rattled Halifax late Sunday and early Monday

A worker tosses roofing felt from the conservatory into a bin on Monday.   Will Gordon

John Murray arrived at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts Monday morning to help with minor leaks after a night of heavy rain. But the worst was yet to come.

“We heard this big noise and we come over this side of the building, and there’s the roof on the ground,” said Murray, who runs accounting and finances for the conservatory.

A portion of the roof had fallen into the parking lot, damaging a car and littering the parking lot with shingles and roofing felt.

A storm system swept through the Halifax Regional Municipality on Sunday night and ended Monday morning. Environment Canada issued a rainfall and wind warning. By Monday at 7 a.m., wind gusts peaked to 76 km/h.

Both warnings had ended by early Monday afternoon.

Besides the damage to the conservatory, there was flooding in the Public Gardens and the Atlantic Superstore on Young Street ended up with a broken window.

Murray said the conservatory cancelled classes Monday, in case there was structural damage.

The conservatory began teaching performing arts in 1996 at the current Chebucto Road location, but the building itself is much older. Built in 1910, it has been a school and even a morgue during the Halifax Explosion.

Murray credits the nearby Ummah Mosque and Community Centre and the Maritime Muslim Academy with providing buckets, mops “and everything else to try to stop the water.”

He said the conservatory hopes to have the roof covered by Tuesday, but he wasn’t sure when the building would reopen.