Background to the project
Our much-loved Riley Park has lots to offer visitors. It also lacks basic facilities like drinking water and toilets in its most heavily used areas near the playground, picnic tables, and new bandstand.
Facilities were identified as an unfunded priority for both the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association and the City of Calgary Parks Department. That means it’s officially known the services are needed, and there’s no public money allocated now or in future budget cycles.
What are the benefits to date?
Once this close-knit community saw a need and opportunity we mobilized around a vision of a unique, functional, public art fountain. A group of committed volunteer residents started an exciting multi-institution collaboration with collective beneficial impacts.
We instituted a SAIT and ACAD student challenge to design a drinking fountain that reflects the heritage values of one of Calgary’s oldest districts, and aesthetic values of Riley Park’s gorgeous flowerbeds, and athletic values of the cricket pitch, playground and pool. Participating students have taken ‘ownership’ of their park and their fountain.
We already see the benefits even before the fountain’s design is selected. All the learning institutions are now engaging with each other and the community for the first time. The designs will be publicly displayed, giving student talent a showcase. IBI Group, formerly a local business until it recently relocated its office, has agreed to donate part of its services to provide engineering oversight. The Calgary Foundation provided the first money in and we’re fundraising for the balance.
How can you be involved?
We invite everyone to participate as a volunteer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Contact us waterforriley.org. To donate through the Parks Foundation Calgary, click on the button. Please specify the project you support is Water for Riley.
It isn’t just about water
Our belief that Riley Park, a jewel in Calgary’s urban green inventory, deserves a beautiful drinking fountain as a funded priority is based on five crucial principles:
Students astonished and delighted Water for Riley with the variety and creativity of drinking fountain designs.
Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, five members of Water for Riley watched 19 ACAD students present their designs. And we aren’t done yet. More student designs are expected.
Any one of the designs we saw would enhance beloved and heavily used Riley Park. We don’t envy the jury of professionals who will have to choose the winning design.
Water for Riley is nurturing compounding, positive spin offs
The students will experience additional constructive feedback on their work, will have exposure for their talent they would not otherwise have, and three neighbouring learning institutions are now collaborating with the community in new ways. The project will end when the fountain is turned on, and the relationships will continue.
Students met with City Parks staff in Riley Park on a September research trip, which informed and inspired their designs.
To help make Water for Riley and the students’ dream become reality, please support the drinking fountain in Riley Park. Donations can be made through the Parks Foundation Calgary. Specify the donation is for Water for Riley.
Email us or phone 403 862 1923 with questions or to volunteer.
Exciting drinking fountain design challenge
It’s confirmed. Over two dozen student designs from ACAD, SAIT and Hillhurst Elementary School students will submit designs. A jury will select a shortlist to forward to IBI Group. The experts at IBI Group will review those to ensure the designs meet engineering standards. The final design selection will result in a drinking fountain near the children’s playground, hopefully before the end of 2016.
We are soliciting donations for the drinking fountain
Water for Riley is based on five core principles:
Health: Riley Park attracts people and pets from all Calgary to enjoy cricket, paths, playground and pool, picnics, benches, wedding and nature photography, and open space, and soon, a bandstand. Park users must leave when they’re thirsty, or bring bottled water, or sweet or caffeinated drinks. After the fountain is installed, children can stay hydrated to play.
Environment: We find disposable cups and bottles discarded in the trash or bushes, and littering the fence line. It’s an unsustainable waste of resources.
Community building: The message the drinking fountain sends is that the community cares. The project connects sports, youth, students from three neighbouring institutions, seniors, homeless, arts, businesses and families around a fountain that’s both community-based and accessible to all Calgarians.
Kensington BRZ and local businesses: Attractions attract. A concrete block fountain with a plain silver bowl, made in the USA and available in bulk, would not attract visitors to Riley Park. The BRZ works hard to make our community a visitors’ destination. Water for Riley supports that goal.
History: Riley Park is a unique historic and cultural resource.
Art is subjective, and not everyone agrees on it. We have many stakeholders with opinions. All the designs will be displayed, and the jury, with IBI Group’s expert guidance and City of Calgary’s Parks and Heritage Department input, will decide which design is built. Our task is to raise the funds. Details of the design display will be announced in the coming months.
For all these reasons, we’re making the effort to improve the facilities of our beloved and well-used Riley Park. We invite you to participate as a volunteer organizer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. To learn more, send us an email and give your contact information.
Donations, tax receipts issued, can be made at The Parks Foundation Calgary. Specify the project is Water for Riley.
Riley Park attracts people from every quadrant of Calgary, participating in a wide range of activities. Activities encourage a lot of thirsty people to linger in welcoming Riley Park.
Yet, there’s no drinking water near the playground and planned permanent band stand. A small group of volunteers wants to change that.
We are very pleased to announce that we have received a significant kickstart donation from The Calgary Foundation, for which we are very grateful. The money is for the first phase of designing a beautiful drinking fountain accessible to all of every activity and demographic.
This generous grant from The Calgary Foundation takes Water for Riley from a vision to implementation,
It’s so exciting that, with seed funding, ACAD and SAIT students will design the drinking fountain, enhance their learning, connect to the community, become stewards of Riley Park, and have a real-world client experience.
Stay tuned for details of the student design challenge.
We invite you to participate as a volunteer organizer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. To donate, click this button that links to the Parks Foundation Calgary, and specify the project is Water for Riley. Thank you.
To learn more, send us an email with your questions and contact information.
Riley Park is a heavily used, intergenerational, regional jewel in Calgary’s green inventory. It attracts people from every quadrant of the city.
The many activities in Riley Park include cricket, walking, dog training, children in the playground and pool, Frisbee and music playing, kite-flying, tight-rope balancers and hoola hoops, picnics with dozens of family members, flower admirers, wedding and nature photography, sun-bathers, cross-country skiers, and short cutters to school and the Sunnyside LRT Station.
Yet, for all Riley Park’s users the only drinking water source has been from a silver bowl in the pool area, accessible through one small gate, only during the pool’s limited open times, in a ‘no dogs allowed’ area.
Now, imagine a beautiful drinking fountain accessible to all of every activity and demographic. A drinking fountain near the new bandstand would send a message the community cares about health, the environment, and nature. Water ensures adequate hydration that isn’t a sweet drink. Available water reduces the cups and bottles tossed along the fence or wasted in landfill. Bottled water is not sustainable. Also, a beautiful solution is its own attraction, like a sculpture garden is an attraction.
Approximately 1700 residents have moved into our community in the past four years. Additional condo developments will further increase density. That’s a lot of thirsty people in welcoming Riley Park; there’s more need than ever for public amenities.
Water for Riley connects sports, youth, students, seniors, homeless, arts, and families to build a fountain that’s local from start to finish. A contest to design and build the fountain will include the students of SAIT and/or ACAD rather than the City’s usual procurement or bidding processes.
We invite you to participate as a volunteer organizer, fund raiser, donors, sponsor, or any other role. To donate, click this button that links to the Parks Foundation Calgary, and specify the project is Water for Riley. Thank you.
To learn more, send us an email with your contact information.