Water for Riley’s celebration and farewell

RIP: June 19, 2012 – October 25, 2020

Its purpose complete, Water for Riley is no more

The drinking fountain is installed and dedicated to The City of Calgary, which was Water for Riley’s sole mission and it’s accomplished. You have a last chance to win awesome prizes still, read down for details.

We always said the last task was to party at the drinking fountain. Alas, it could not be in Riley Park because of COVID 19, so we pivoted. On Sunday, October 25, 2020, we held a much scaled down celebration of that success. Water for Riley partnered with the Kensington Business Redevelopment Zone (BRZ) in a public market.

Scaled down and still local

Water for Riley was always hyper local. Our talented team and all the money was raised spent and locally. Water for Riley was founded on the idea of building community and building relationships by building a drinking fountain. Whereas we’d hoped the party for the drinking fountain could be city-wide, complying with health rules meant even the party was local.

As well as vendors the BRZ arranged, Water for Riley hosted its team. Displaying and selling their art were local artists, Framed on Fifth gallery owner and sculpture Hannah White, Artsploration painter, Mary-Leigh Doyle, woodcrafts by Jeff Melnyk and handmade glass bead jewelry maker Karyn Williams.

NorthWest Healthcare Properties, the developer of the Grace Hospital site north of Riley Park, donated a gorgeous, huge gift basket to give away. NorthWest Healthcare Properties employee Rachelle Donaldson volunteered at the market for the day.

Bloco Vivo, the Samba & Maracatu band that practices in Riley Park, brought energy and warmth on a cold day with its performance.

Water for Riley’s biggest hit of the day was the give aways to people who stopped to chat about the drinking fountain in Riley Park and membership in the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association (HSCA). Water for Riley offered gifts to entice people to join HSCA, and the HSCA offered discounts on memberships. Important to note is that Water for Riley bought all the gifts to give away, the final way it supported local community and business as thanks for all the support the project received.

You still have a chance to win awesome prizes, keep reading for details.

COVID 19 changed what could have been

The event had been scheduled for 13 June, 2020, and we’d booked a full and active day of local celebrities, fun and performances in Riley Park. Then, COVID 19 shut down the parks and public realm. We cancelled and hoped restrictions would be brief. That, obviously, didn’t work out and we had hard decisions to make.

We decided to not wait until 2021, because there’s no guarantee it would be any better or safer. We scaled down the event and accepted that we could not meet Alberta Health Services rules to hold the event in Riley Park.

Last chance for free gifts

Remaining are some coupons Water for Riley bought for free drinks at local shops. In the nice weather predicted for this weekend, we’ll hand those out in Riley Park near the drinking fountain.

In the coming weeks, still in partnership with the BRZ, the final purchased gifts will be given away. The grand prize is a night stay and breakfast at the boutique Hotel Arts Kensington Inn. Purchase your HSCA membership for a chance to win.

Water for Riley has now reported to its donors and presented its final accounting to its HSCA oversight Board, which is the Hillhurst Sunnyside Planning Committee.

It’s done. Thanks for the memories and for the drinking fountain in Riley Park.

Graphic of the Reflecting Blooms drinking fountain by Maddie Wong Selby

See you in Riley Park,

Deborah Sword
Volunteer Project Manager
Water for Riley

The final phase: celebration delayed not done for

Save the date: 24 October, 2020 on Kensington Road

Water for Riley raised money dedicated to celebrating the successful completion of the drinking fountain in Riley Park. Enter COVID-19 and brilliant plans to celebrate big in the park got cancelled.

The three donors supporting the celebration with generous grants kindly allowed us to keep the money until we can again gather in small groups. We thank them so much for believing in Water for Riley and in community that needs a morale boost.

Maddie Wong Selby, Water for Riley volunteer, accepts the cheque from MIrza Amiri, Manager of TD Bank, Kensington Branch.

We adapted to hold smaller events, like yoga in the park. Coming up, Water for Riley collaborates with Kensington Village, the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, and NorthWest Healthcare Properties at a street market on Kensington Road, just south of Riley Park. We can’t confirm the date until the last minute because COVID-19 changes and we might have to adapt yet again.

Maddie Wong Selby designed this invitation and
drew the wonderful graphic of Reflecting Blooms, the drinking fountain in Riley Park

As soon as we know if it can go ahead, we’ll let you know.

The Water for Riley volunteer team sends Thanksgiving and good health wishes.

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.