Unexpected water damage closes doors of Gargoyle Theatre in Winnipeg

A Winnipeg theatre that was finally able to open its doors for the first time last month must close them once again after an ice dam caused water to leak through the roof, damaging the stage.

Andrew Davidson, the owner of Gargoyle Theatre on Ellice Avenue near Sherbrook Street, first noticed the water coming through the ceiling directly above the stage. 

“That was a terrible and sickening thing to see,” Davidson told Marcy Markusa on CBC Manitoba’s Information Radio.

The local theatre was set to open its doors in 2020 when the pandemic hit. It finally opened in February of 2022 with its first show.

Davidson said that putting the summer show — that was supposed to be announced this week — on hold upset him as the theatre company worked hard to bring it to life.  

Gargoyle Theatre on Ellice Avenue was hoping to be a venue for the Fringe Festival. (Travis Golby/CBC)

“They are very far in the process and I’m sure they’ll find another venue,” Davidson said. 

Davidson also said that Gargoyle would be happy to have the theatre company back. 

Davidson had originally planned to have Gargoyle as a venue for the Winnipeg Fringe Festival coming up in July. 

“Now I can’t guarantee if it’ll be ready,” he said.

Contractors busier than ever

The process to repair might take three months or more if contractors discover additional problems, Davidson said. ( Submitted by: Andrew Davidson)

Gargoyle Theatre is one of many places across the city requiring repairs after Manitoba saw the third highest snowfall amounts on record this winter. 

One Winnipeg contractor said the volume of calls has been high this year. 

“We normally get about 70-80 calls per week, and now its almost our daily average,” said Andrew Feeney, vice president of Priority Restoration. 

It sometimes takes two or three days for the contracting company to conduct an inspection if its just water damage with no harm or safety issues, Feeney said. Due to the current unusual situation, the company is trying to prioritize depending on the extent of damage caused and get to the location on the same day instead.. 

LISTEN | A local theatre has had to close its doors for now, due to some unexpected water damage:

Information Radio – MB5:17A local theatre has had to close its doors for now, due to some unexpected water damage…we will find out about the future of the Gargoyle Theatre

The Gargoyle Theatre recently opened to audiences…but now water damage has closed the curtain on upcoming shows. Andrew Davidson , owner, the Gargoyle Theatre tells host Marcy Markusa what work needs before the show can go on. 5:17

Feeney also said to minimize the damage, people should immediately try to contain the damage by putting towels or buckets where the water is dripping. 

“Move any wooden furniture off the ground and if the damage is severe, I recommend calling the insurance company right away,” he said. 

To avoid extensive damage, it’s important to keep eaves clear of ice and snow before the melt, keep window wells clean of debris and things that may block them and make sure water hose pumps are not frozen, Feeney said.