Not your typical fire hydrant

You’ve never seen a fire hydrant quite like this.

Located in an off-leash dog park in Falconridge, it’s a public art installation made with a surplus fire hydrant from the Calgary Fire Department and painted by high school students at Bishop McNally School.

“We were on a bus tour trying to come up with projects that we could do through This is My Neighbourhood,” says City of Calgary Neighbourhood Partnership Coordinator Joylynn Matheson. “I overheard one of the people on the bus talking about a public art installation that she'd seen in New York City with fire hydrants that had been decommissioned, and how they had been used for public art. And I remember thinking at the time, I'm a dog lover, and where is a better place to put a fire hydrant than in an off-leash dog park?”

This is My Neighbourhood is a program that was created to provide an opportunity for residents to partner with The City to identify ways to help make their neighbourhood an even better place to work, live and play. For this project, Bishop McNally School was eager to help. Three students took on the creation of the art.

“Growing up in the northeast, in Falconridge, it’s a very diverse culture,” says Nadriel Arthur Tacsagon, one of the high school student artists. “It’s very nice to see art here, because it shows The City cares about its culture and diversity.

“And I feel like I accomplished something. I hope that when I come here in the future, and if I have kids or not, I can come see this and I can tell a good story that I helped to paint this.”

His teacher Jessica McCallum-Lee says the students took time out of their exam break to work on the project. “It’s important for them because it allows them to get their work out into the community,” she says.

“It's also a massive confidence booster for them to see their work. That it's important enough to be displayed in a public area.

“When the kids were designing it they envisioned children seeing this, and thinking it was fun and whimsical, and would be excited to see it. It would be sort of a landmark in the park, which is part of their community. If you look at this dog park, there isn't a lot of colour, there isn't any art in here, so absolutely, it's going to be a focal point of the park.”

One of the key things that Matheson heard through This is My Neighbourhood was that residents wanted a beautiful, safe and clean community. “They talked a lot about art, and diversity that's in the community. I think this really responds to the beautiful portion of it.”