Nice drinking fountain design; will it work?

The Calgary Foundation Neighbours Grant

When Water for Riley (W4R) was just an idea without a name, two community members met with Julie Black, The Calgary Foundation’s fantastic Citizen Engagement Associate. From the start, Julie and The Calgary Foundation (TCF) provided financial support as well as excellent advice, encouragement, and other opportunities.

Julie Black and Deborah Sword, volunteer Project Manager of W4R.

Once again, we are excited and delighted to announce that TCF has awarded us a Neighbours Grant to fund the building of the drinking fountain’s prototype. W4R and the fundraising committee want to shout out our gratitude.

W4R is proud to partner with and accept support from The Calgary Foundation.

To find out how Reflecting Blooms works we’ll build it

Taking risks is how W4R achieved the success it’s had so far. Bring on the next challenge. With a winning design and a fundraising plan, we’ve retained a fabricator and mechanical engineer.

W4R relies on community volunteers. The next steps will rely on professionals. We are very pleased that the expert firms we’re working with have committed to contain costs, and to give us fixed, reasonable prices to move ahead in increments, as funds are available.

Next step is the design build

Design–build is a method to deliver a project.

“Design-build is intended to be a highly collaborative, fully integrated process that is built on trust, mutual respect, teamwork, innovation and creative problem solving. Design-build unleashes the power of team to deliver projects faster, better and for optimum cost – best value for the money, time and e ort invested. Owners find that when design-build is done right, their level of engagement with the entire team is more meaningful than is experienced with other delivery methods.”

Be part of it;
a beautiful public drinking fountain,
for Riley Park, for you and as a legacy for the future.

Donate to make this vision become reality. At the instructions to seller page, specify that your support is for Water for Riley project. The Parks Foundation issues tax receipts for donations greater than $10.00.

We invite everyone to participate as a volunteer organizer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.


Bow to Bluff, an ecosystem approach to nature

Riley Park is part of an ecosystem

In our mostly paved, urban landscape, it’s easy to forget the role of ecosystems in keeping us healthy. In nature, nothing exists in isolation. The health of one part of the ecosystem affects the health of all. On May 27, 2017, you can be part of an historic effort to pull fragmented pieces of land into a more useable, healthy space.

Bow to Bluff has an ecosystem perspective

Citizens saw an opportunity to transform fragmented bits of land leftover from Ctrain construction. The Ctrain tracks disrupt the McHugh Bluff, and chop up 9A Street N.W. streetscapes between SAIT/ACAD/Jubilee Station to Sunnyside Station, and to the Bow River. The citizens’ vision is to turn those neglected parcels and current back alley trails into a walkable, terrific public space.

Leftover bits of 9A St.N.W. after Ctrain construction can be usable public space.

The City of Calgary began working with the citizen group on the Bow (River) to (McHugh) Bluff initiative. Where now are tiny, weed and garbage-filled bits of land, imagine wondrous public spaces from the river, across Memorial Drive, past the Ctrain station, along the elevated tracks, to the top of the bluff.

Join us. Water for Riley will be there.

27 May, 2017, enjoy Kensington, Riley Park, and launch Bow to Bluff.

Water for Riley sits at the base of the McHugh Bluff. The Bow to Bluff initiative will help restore natural health to the ecosystem in which Riley Park is nestled.

Water for Riley works with Parks Foundation Calgary ( and issues tax receipts for all donations over $10.00. Call 403 862 1923 for more information


Continuity and change

Water for Riley (W4R) has many moving pieces

How W4R works partly explains our successes so far. A few members of the organizing committee have been involved from the start. Other people have contributed skill and time as tasks required. W4R has been blessed with the right people offering the right skills at the right time.

On 27 April 2017, Jen Dobbin of The Dobbin Group met with Michelle Vincent and Natalie Back, stalwart W4R volunteers.

The Snowball Methodology

The method is called the Snowball. Like a small ball of snow rolling downhill that collects more snow as it gathers speed, we collect and network with people as we move forward. One person leads to more people. At every meeting W4R volunteers ask, for example:
who else should we talk to?
what contacts do you have that might introduce us?
when can we meet with those others?
where should we go for those connections?

We have a core committee that holds the vision and provides continuity. Fresh ideas and energy come from a cast of changing volunteers who share the vision and offer their time as they have some available.

Community minded people share contacts

Michelle and Annie MacInnis, Executive Director of Kensington Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ), met to discuss mutual interests on 10 May, 2017.

We’re very grateful for these cross-fertilizing, idea-sharing meetings. It’s like shortcuts on a long journey; we learn from their wisdom and experience so we don’t have to build a road they’ve already walked.

 You can join the snowball effect, even in Springtime

Follow this Water for Riley blog and on Twitter @waterforriley.

Please contribute to Riley Park’s beautiful drinking fountain project through the Parks Foundation and – at the instructions to seller page – specify that your contribution is for Water for Riley.

To volunteer call 403 862 1923.


Water for Riley presented at Annual General Meeting

Speaking to the bosses in public

Water for Riley has many bosses. At the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association (HSCA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) on April 25, most of those bosses were in the room.

Water for Riley presented its successes to date at the HSCA Annual General Meeting
Lisa Chong, Community Planning Coordinator, arranged Water for Riley display at AGM

The Chair of the HSCA Board of Directors, the Executive Director, the Chair of the Community Planning Committee, Councillor Druh Farrell, and the real bosses – residents and members of the community – expressed their approval of the winning design, congratulated student designer, Michelle Lazo, and encouraged the W4R organizing committee to keep going.

HSCA members and Board discussed community sustainability and other important issues

Water for Riley, as a project, fits in the goals and mission of the HSCA and community residents. The drinking fountain aims to achieve the shared community goals of sustainability and accessibility.

Councillor Druh Farrell, centre of front row, spoke about accessibility, development and good planning for growth.

 To stay in touch and receive updates

Follow this Water for Riley blog and on Twitter @waterforriley.

Please contribute to Riley Park’s beautiful drinking fountain project through the Parks Foundation and – at the instructions to seller page – specify that your contribution is for Water for Riley.

To volunteer call 403 862 1923.


W4R publicity and information sheet

Water for Riley moves into the spotlight

At three evening events in April, 2017, W4R is getting known beyond the local community. In preparation for the publicity, Michelle Vincent, Lead Volunteer, created this one page information sheet.

Thanks Michelle. W4R is ready for that close-up now.

Follow this Water for Riley blog and on Twitter @waterforriley for updates.

Please contribute to Riley Park’s beautiful drinking fountain project through the Parks Foundation and – at the instructions to seller page – specify that your contribution is for Water for Riley.

To volunteer call 403 862 1923.

W4R’s public display (of affection)

This is My City Festival going strong until April 27, 2017

Water for Riley (W4R) enjoys a long relationship with This is My City Art Society (TMC). Sally Truss, Executive Director of TMC, was at the first meeting that discussed W4R as a possibility. Sally organized and chaired the jury of experts who selected the winning drinking fountain design. Last year, before the jury made its decision, Sally arranged for the design display to be hung at Blank Page Studio.

All student designs again on display

Now, Sally has again included W4R in the 2017 TMC festival.

The 21 ACAD and SAIT student drinking fountain designs will be at the Louise Riley Branch, Calgary Public Library, for the duration of the TMC festival.

Please come to the festival and admire the students’ creativity.

photo credit Sally Truss.
photo credit Sally Truss.

W4R owes a lot to Sally, and thanks her sincerely as she departs from her TMC role to pursue her other and numerous projects.

W4R plans to keep Sally on the team. She’ll be part of the pitch, with Michelle Vincent and Michelle Lazo (the student designer), on 19 April as W4R presents its case to win audience votes.

Thanks Sally, for everything and for all you’ll continue to do with projects near to your heart.

Follow Water for Riley on Twitter @waterforriley for updates.

Please contribute to Riley Park’s beautiful drinking fountain project through the Parks Foundation and – at the instructions to seller page – specify that your contribution is for Water for Riley.

To volunteer call 403 862 1923.



Water for Riley expands its network

Bureaucracy can be confusing. Necessary and confusing.

The complexity of Water for Riley (W4R) is that it involves multiple municipal departments, such as Public Art, Heritage, Parks, Water Services, and Roads, and our elected City Councillor. W4R has been blessed with the quality of civic employees who have joined the W4R network. The W4R team includes competent and helpful City of Calgary staff.

Today, April 6, W4R volunteers met with another department. Not only did it enlarge W4R’s network of helpful City employees, the volunteers got a tour of the amazing Gold LEED building that sets a high standard of environmental sustainability in Calgary.

Amy Ross, Water Resources, and Michelle Vincent, W4R lead volunteer.

While on the tour, the art team gave an answer to the question: is the drinking fountain for Riley Park an art project or a functional project? “It sits in different worlds at the same time,” said Tristan Surtees. That answer sounds right.

Art team, Water Services

Later, the W4R volunteers changed roles to meet with the Calgary Foundation coach for Pitch Night. Priscilla Ng, Advisor, Donations, Royal Bank of Canada, gave so many great tips for how to pitch W4R to the voting audience on April 19. Between now and the pitch, W4R will be in overdrive in preparation and getting votes.

Priscilla Ng and Michelle Vincent enjoy Riley Park while discussing tips about pitching Water for Riley.
Priscilla is coach extraordinaire.

Call 403 862 1923 to get involved as another W4R volunteer. Click the link to donate to The Parks Foundation Calgary, and designate your gift to The Water for Riley Project. Tax receipts are issued.


Water for Riley in a grant contest

Hot off the press news

On 19 April, 2017, Water for Riley (W4R) will compete for a $10,000.00 Calgary Foundation, Soul of the City Neighbour Grant. As soon as the audience votes, the five winners will be announced.

Please buy a ticket to attend,
stay for the vote and support Water for Riley

Now, here are the details

W4R is honoured to be one of ten contestants in the Soul of the City pitch event. Grants will be awarded to the five groups with the most votes. W4R would so appreciate your support.

Thanks also to the CF, which has been a valued and appreciated W4R partner and supporter from the start. CF will supply food for attendees.

Please come and vote for Water for Riley.

Date: 19 April, 2017
Time: from 4:30 to 7:45 PM.
Location: John Dutton Theatre, Calgary Public Library,  downtown branch,
616 Macleod Trail S.E.
Calgary, AB T2G 2M2

Please buy your ticket for the event,
support Water for Riley with your vote

W4R’s volunteer fundraising committee is hard at work, doing its homework, collecting stories and preparing its prize winning presentation.

The Calgary Foundation describes this event:

Join us for the Soul of the City Neighbour Grants pitch night.

Hosted by crowd-favourite emcee Andrew Phung, 10 Neighbour Grant finalist groups will pitch their big ideas to the audience and a panel of “friendly dragons”. The audience will then vote and select the top 5 community groups to each receive a $10,000 Soul of the City Neighbour Grant, provided by Calgary Foundation and RBC Foundation.

This is our fourth annual Soul of the City Neighbour Grants pitch night and the event is always joyful and inspiring. Please join in. Your vote matters.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
4:30 p.m – 7:45 p.m.
John Dutton Theatre – Central Library


Your vote matters to W4R.
Please buy your ticket, come to the event,
and vote for Water for Riley

Nature’s own water in Riley Park

Water for Riley couldn’t resist posting pictures of the swamp that is Riley Park in Calgary’s lovely springtime. This is not the water source that Water for Riley had in mind for drinking.

Ah, spring thaw in Riley Park, March 25, 2017, get your raft and hip waders.

However, it’s great for kids in gumboots taking a very long time getting to Hillhurst School through the puddles, and for ducks, who were seen swimming on the cricket pitch. It’s also adding a layer of silt to the undersides of dogs.

Short legs + spring thaw = one muddy dog.

Families are just so happy to see spring, they’re happily sloshing through the muck to the playground.

Sun’s out and so are the Riley Park fans.

Help bring actual drinking water to Riley Park. Donate through the Parks Foundation, and designate your contribution to Water for Riley project.

Call 403 862 1923 to volunteer with the other fun people who are making it possible to plant Reflective Blooms in our lovely Riley Park.

World Water Day, 2017

Happy World Water Day

This Globe and Mail story captures the reasons Water for Riley believes in public drinking fountains, and the importance of access to drinking water in public spaces.

Celebrate Water every day

Here’s an excerpt of the article, which should be read in full. Thank you, Globe and Mail and Corey Mintz.

“Stuck on the bottle”



“… people actually paid for water taken from public sources and put into disposable bottles.

… That’s nuts.

Most Canadians have access to free-flowing tap water that’s clean, fresh and safe. So why, wonders Corey Mintz, does the bottled water industry make $2.5-billion in annual sales?

Most Canadians have perfectly good water pouring out of our taps, and drinking it doesn’t require the wasteful practice of shipping plastic bottles around the country or world.  …

March 22 is World Water Day, so it seemed like a good time to consider why we spend billions every year on a product that is virtually free for most. … Here’s a short list of reasons why people in Canada are – or aren’t – drinking bottled water right now.

Because: It’s a fashion statement

Because: It’s forbidden

In 2009, Bundanoon, Australia, became the first municipality in the world to ban the sale of single-use bottled water, followed by Concord, Mass., in 2013 (the ban is still in effect in both towns). Around the world, dozens of campuses have eliminated bottled water for sale. …

Because: Public access is limited

My neighbourhood park has a water fountain, but it doesn’t work. For Mike Nagy of Wellington Water Watchers, that broken fountain is indicative of a larger problem: that fewer and fewer public facilities provide free water, and fewer and fewer people expect it.

Because: They fear tap water

Some people drink bottled water for aspirational reasons, but others believe it’s safer than tap. Well, Health Canada is in charge of such things and states that the quality standards of tap and bottled water are “similar.”

No government body is in charge of testing bottled water, which is classified as food and subject to the Food and Drugs Act.

Because: It’s a necessity

For Indigenous people in Canada, drinkable tap water is too often unavailable: There are 618 First Nations in the country and on any given day, 150 of them are under a Boil Water Advisory. …

… The truth is, to drink the bottled stuff when one has access to clean tap water is simply indefensible – financially unsound, environmentally wasteful and just plain wrong.”

You can be part of the solution. Help plant this beautiful and functional drinking fountain in Riley Park.  Water for Riley celebrates public access to drinking water, supports public art, promotes outdoor activity, and helps create a sustainable local environment.

Reflecting Blooms is the winning design.

Call 403 862 1923 to get involved. Click the link to donate to The Parks Foundation Calgary, and designate your gift to The Water for Riley Project. Tax receipts are issued.