Why is a drinking fountain important for Riley Park?

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 donate buttonthe Parks Foundation Calgary, click on the button. Please specify the project you support is Water for Riley.


Students designing drinking fountain for Riley Park

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.

Water for Riley community: Sally (This is My City), Connor (Place2Give), Michelle (City of Calgary), Julie (The Calgary Foundation)
Water for Riley community: Sally (This is My City), Connor (Place2Give), Michelle (City of Calgary), Julie (The Calgary Foundation)
Students present their designs to their classmates and instructor, Kerry Harmer
Students present their designs to their classmates and instructor, Kerry Harmer

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.

students & RP sign

students on tree

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.