Friends of River Park Connects With The City of Calgary



Construction and development is in full swing at River Park. Since May, park users have raised many questions. Kathleen and Candice, members from the Friends of River Park leadership team connected with two representatives from The City of Calgary, the Project Manager and a Parks Community Strategist.

View details of the meeting on July 26, 2016.


Poop Scoop Day Results

A little cold weather couldn’t deter dog people from showing River Park some TLC on Saturday, November 14.  Drum roll please…

Yay! There were 31 people who gave up an hour and a half to pick up leftover poop and bits of garbage. Some of our regulars dug in with pails and shovels while others preferred to just use bags. A few people who have never encountered our group efforts, learned about the park culture, grabbed a bag and picked up too!

This time we concentrated on the east side where the grass is longer and just as we suspected, helpers reported finding a few too many piles.

Thanks to everyone for doo-ing more than your share to give River Park the care it deserves. It’s great to scoop before the snow is here to stay.



The River Park Fountain and Memorial Site

fountainAren’t we lucky to have a water fountain for people and dogs at River Park? It’s one of the great features that sets this off-leash area apart from others.

A bit of history… a water fountain first arrived at River Park in 2007 as part of a memorial site dedicated to Cathryn Margetts. Cat was the owner of one of the first known commercial dog walking/sitting services in Calgary. This remarkable woman tragically lost her life when she tried to save animals trapped inside her burning home. Cat’s family and friends organized three benches, trees and the fountain in the middle of River Park as a wonderful tribute to her. It is known as ‘Cat’s Park Within a Park’ and is one of the treasured focal points at River Park, drawing many locals and visitors year round. Please click here to learn more about Cat (includes link to her former  dog business).

The stone fountain was custom-made at the request of Cat’s family and friends. It was a gorgeous, unique park feature that dogs and people enjoyed immensely.  Unfortunately the fountain lasted less than one year. During its first winter it crumbled away from the elements and accumulation of urine from dogs. Candice Lee from the River Park Dogs leadership team reported this sad news to Cat’s family and The City of Calgary.

In 2008 it was replaced with an identical fountain but it quickly showed signs of deterioration as a result of the same reasons. Candice monitored and documented the decline. One day, she found the fountain had been vandalized. A large chunk from the front of the dog bowl was found lying just a few steps away from the fountain. Once again, she contacted Cat’s family to report the additional bad news.

Cat’s family set in motion the steps to find a suitable replacement, and shortly thereafter in 2010, a metal fountain was installed.

The metal fountain has stood up much better than its predecessors but in 2015, after five years, urine has taken its toll on the paint. At some point the access panel will need to be replaced.

How can you help?
Well we can’t do much about the weather. Members of the River Park Dogs leadership team cover the fountain during the winter. You can do your part during fair weather months. Here are some of the great ways to help:

Curb Behaviour
Don’t let your dog pee on the fountain. Often dogs urinate in the bowl and some dogs  lick the surface.

Safety & Consideration
Ensure healthy, pleasant experiences for people and dogs. Urine creates a strong odour and is unhygienic. 

Reduce repair and prevent need for replacement. Urine strips the paint. Currently a large patch of paint on the access panel to the fountain has deteriorated from dog urine. Please note: When a replacement is required, it would be our fourth fountain. We have to be realistic and not assume we can even get one.

Honour this memorial site. It’s the right thing to do.


Give It Up for River Park

Do you adore your dog? Are you thankful for having off-leash privileges in River Park? Are you willing to lend your support to ensure we maintain off-leash access?

There are various ways to support River Park:

  1. Keep it clean (faeces, broken toys, garbage, cigarette butts).
  2. Donate to our fundraising efforts for poop bags.
  3. Make sure your dog is well-behaved. River Park is a multi-use space with off-leash privileges so that means all other users are welcome too.
  4. If you see someone miss their dog having a poop, politely bring it to their attention.
  5. If you find a left over poop, please clean it up. Give people the benefit of doubt as many of us have missed one on occasion.

Hope you’ll lend a hand in one or more ways. All efforts are welcome and appreciated. Have more ideas or suggestions? Please let us know by emailing Thanks for your consideration.

Off-leash History at River Park

Fortunately for dog enthusiasts, River Park gained off-leash status around 1987 as a result of Calgary Alderman Barb Scott, as she was a person with dog-related interests.

In 1987, Kate Currey, a local resident and dog person noticed fellow dog people were at times negligent about cleaning up after their dogs. She started a group of concerned dog people who began holding clean up efforts in the park.

Among Kate’s group of supporters was Candice Lee, a fellow dog person and local resident. Candice happened to have a large network of dog friends at River Park who gathered at various times for walks, supported clean ups and also socialized outside of the park. By the late 1990’s Candice’s group had grown to approximately 200 people.

In 2007 Candice learned about potential paving of trails and reduction of space affecting off-leash access in River Park. She discovered people from competing interest groups in the park had been meeting since 2006 about various matters. As the only dog representative, Candice was invited to the table early in 2007. As a result of this new direction, Candice’s group morphed into the Friends of River Park Society (FRPS) with an elected six-member leadership team. Followers grew to over 800 email addresses, representing single and multiple person households.

Meetings continued where competing interest groups expressed four main concerns:

  • Poor behaviour (dogs and their people)
  • Over-use (focus to reduce amount of dogs in the park)
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Feces left by negligent dog people

The FRPS leadership team immediately addressed concerns by educating fellow dog owners about competing interest groups’ concerns, influencing behaviour of people and dogs, and keeping the park clean. Candice’s group began clean-up efforts every second month throughout each year.