Parks Foundation fundraising for Calgary overlook named after founding director

A man looks over the fence along the proposed site of the Terry Hawitt Vista along the Elbow River in Britannia in Calgary on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Terry Hawitt was the founding director of the Parks Foundation. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

A little over $190,000 is all that stands between the Parks Foundation and its goal of creating the Terry Hawitt Vista.

Named after the founding director of the foundation, this vista will provide a scenic overlook of Sandy Beach Park and some of the most picturesque cliff faces along the Elbow River.

The Parks Foundation Calgary unveiled the plans for the vista at a fundraiser held to celebrate Terry Hawitt.

Hawitt died in 2021 at the age of 91.

“It was really his vision and his passion that created the Parks Foundation,” said Sheila Taylor, CEO of the Parks Foundation.

“We know it’s a very busy walkway—lots of people get an ice cream or a coffee and walk along the ridge, and now they’re going to have a place to sit and enjoy the view and, and learn a little bit about Terry, who was a very inspiring individual,” she said.

The foundation has raised $60,000 of its $250,000 goal so far. The fundraising is going towards covering the project’s capital costs, and to create a sustainability endowment for the park.

The foundation is accepting donations via their website. Tax receipts are also issued for this project.

The view from the proposed site of the Terry Hawitt Vista along the Elbow River in Britannia in Calgary on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Terry Hawitt was the founding director of the Parks Foundation. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Meaningful for the Parks Foundation, community

The vista is a special project for the Parks Foundation, which normally acts as a fundraising partner. Very seldom in its nearly 40 year history has it had a project named after someone so close to the foundation.

“I think it’s a real testament to all of the work that has gone on in the past almost 40 years,” said Taylor.

In his obituary, Hawitt was quoted as having said “if you have a great idea, people will always support it.”

The space will contain seating for up to 20 people. It will provide a location to rest along the trail that leads along the Elbow River ridge. It will also contain quotes, text, and images into architectural features of the design that celebrates Hawitt’s life.

Peter Major, a family friend of Hawitt, had a chance to view the proposed site on Tuesday. Overlooking the Elbow River Valley below, he told LWC that it was a fantastic vista.

“I’ve lived in Calgary for 50 of my 60 years and I had no idea of this location,” he said.

“There is a spot to appreciate beauty, and to also recognize Terry,” he said.

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