Water for Riley’s thank you

Just as the project to build a drinking fountain in Riley Park was delayed, modified and downsized, so too was celebrating the project delayed, modified and downsized. But, in the end, we did it. We held a party that complied with COVID rules.

There are so many people to thank. Let’s start with the three donors that made the celebration possible:

The City of Calgary Ward Community Event Fund,
TD Park People, and Mirza Amiri, Manager of TD Bank and his team in the Kensington Branch.

Outstanding volunteers planned and worked at the event: Lisa Chong, Maddie Wong Selby, Rachelle Donaldson, and Yameen Huq.

Water for Riley had many, many volunteers over its five+ years, especially: Jocelyn Kabatoff, Michelle Vincent, Natalie Bach, and Sally Truss.  We also had many donations from local community members, residents and folks from all over the City who supported what Water for Riley was achieving. We are so grateful.

NorthWest Healthcare Properties, the largest donor to the drinking fountain, supplied employee and star volunteer, Rachelle Donaldson, plus a fabulous gift basket to give away.

Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association and Water for Riley especially thank:

  • Alberta University of the Arts and Kerry Harmer
  • Southern Alberta Institute for Technology
  • The Calgary Foundation and Julie Black
  • Framed on Fifth, Hannah White and Patricia Gustafson
  • Sunnyside Natural Market
  • City of Calgary Water Services and Parks Departments, Michelle Reid and Ron Buchan,
  • Nulli Identity Management and Barb Gosling
  • Hillhurst School
  • Place2give Foundation and Gena Rotstein
  • Parks Foundation Calgary
  • IBI Group

We know the drinking fountain works and Water for Riley saved the first water out of it to douse it instead of champagne. Once we can drink from the fountain, the effort and wait will be worth it.

As written in a prior post, the drinking fountain was 100% over budget and years behind schedule, installed just in time to be unusable because of a global pandemic. Who says irony is dead?

Stay safe, friends, with warm regards and thanks from

Installation phase 1: completed

Notice of project start
After months of negotiation and clarification, the design details are almost finalized.

Riley Park made ready for its drinking fountain

Early November, 2018, the Water for Riley team faced unexpected issues. The experts tell us that issues during construction projects shouldn’t be unexpected, so let’s go with that wisdom. Since November, those wonderful experts have worked hard to find solutions.

The City of Calgary Parks Department had enough faith in those solutions that we met on site to plot the water line location. On Monday, 3 June, 2019, City staff, Heavy Industries’ Project Manager and Water for Riley met on site, looking at plans and maps.

To be ready for the drinking fountain’s installation, City staff were scheduled to dig and install the water line that will hook up to the three stems of Reflecting Blooms.

City staff on location in Riley Park
Deborah of City of Calgary Water Management, Lori from Heavy Industries and City staff Kody, Mark and Aneta plot the location of the waterline that will run from 12th Street NW to the drinking fountain.
June 3, 2019 meeting on site
Lori, Deborah, Kody and Aneta examine the map with topographic and service features. It helped us look for any underground utilities. Kody sprayed the purple mark on the grass to align with the box that will house the water cutoff device.

Decision on Monday, water line on Tuesday

On Tuesday, 4 June, 2019, the crew showed up with equipment, and Michelle from Parks Department matched the location and the digging to the plans.

From 12 Street NW, the water line entered Riley Park at the north gate, went east to avoid damaging trees, and headed south to the future location of the drinking fountain
In half a day, with minimal disruption to Riley Park and its visitors, City staff installed the water line and the shutoff valve. Once the drinking fountain is fabricated and installed, the hookup is easy.
The crew left the site with barely a trace of having dug a water line there. Trail, the inspiration for the drinking fountain project, inspected the location and was satisfied.
4 June, City staff can't wait for the drinking fountain
Water for Riley: a drinking fountain in Riley Park so disposable water bottles aren’t needed. Perhaps this is the last time staff will have to drink from plastic bottles that are used once and discarded?

Be part of Calgary’s public art legacy;
for Riley Park, for you, and for the future.

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

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

See our story in a video http://www.waterforriley.org/2018/07/acad-w4r-video/

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 (parksfdn.com) and issues tax receipts for all donations over $10.00. Call 403 862 1923 for more information