The origin of Water for Riley

At the Big Reveal on 18 January, people asked what inspired the idea of Water for Riley. Here’s how the concept of a student designed drinking fountain in Riley Park originated.

In summer of 2010, a White West-highland (Westie) puppy named Trail was 11 weeks old and just adopted into a Hillhurst family.

Trail at 11 weeks old.

While walking in Riley Park, Trail let it be known he was thirsty. Very, very thirsty. With typical “Westitude” (the Westie breed is famous for attitude), Trail demanded water. When he wanted something, he was as ear splitting loud as a shrieking child.

There was no water to be had anywhere in the park

Trail and his humans had to forego the rest of their walk. Partly to get water and partly because other park visitors looked at Trail as if his terrible humans were abusing him.

This experience had us think – if a puppy got thirsty enough to stop a family’s outdoor activities, how much more important was it to keep children happy, hydrated, and healthy? We know the negative health consequences of sedentary children and the need to get them in nature. Supplying drinking water to keep them playing in Riley Park was obvious.

With ACAD and SAIT so close, the idea of making the drinking fountain a community-building, student engagement project was born from that dog walk.

There were many pieces to bring together in the collaboration. Slowly, it gained momentum until it’s half way to reality.

Trail attended all the Water for Riley committee strategy sessions that took place in Riley Park and the student walk-around groups with City of Calgary Parks Department staff.

Trail was happy to tour Riley Park with Ron from Parks Dept and student designers.

However, Trail usually slept through Water for Riley committee planning meetings,

Bored to sleep at a meeting.

Trail’s now eager to be the first dog to drink from the Reflecting Bloom that is specifically designed at his height.

Trail can dream big

And, for the record, Trail is a calm six year old who loves Riley Park and doesn’t scream anymore.

To volunteer for Water for Riley call 403 862 1923.

Help make the dream come true, donate to the drinking fountain in Riley Park. Designate your donation the Water for Riley project and receive a tax receipt.

To donate through the Parks Foundation, click in the button and specify your contribution is for the Water for Riley project.

 

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