Ponoka covers 17.33 square kilometres in the central section of the province, near the communities of Wetaskiwin, Lacombe, Black Falds, and Red Deer. The city, which is situated south of Edmonton, has a population of over 7,000 people.
The Battle River runs through Ponoka, and numerous small lakes surround the city. Highways 2A and 53 intersect here, and the major Queen Elizabeth II Highway runs just west of the city.
Ponoka gets its name from a Blackfoot word meaning “elk”, an animal that is also depicted on the city’s flag. The city originated in the late 1800s as a sort of halfway point between the Edmonton and Calgary railway stops.
Area: 17.33 km2
In Ponoka’s northern section, there are residential areas, parks, schools, lakes, service providers, churches, a hospital, shops, and industrial areas.
Residential areas, a museum, shops, service providers, a veterinary clinic, churches, government offices, lakes, parks, restaurants, a visitor centre, schools, a youth centre, a library, a bowling alley, accommodations, and a post office can all be found in the city’s central section.
Ponoka’s southern section includes residential areas, restaurants, service providers, a veterinary clinic, lakes, shops, schools, a fire hall, a food bank, a community centre, a drop-in centre, an aquatic centre, churches, accommodations, industrial areas, a recreation complex, a curling club, an event centre, and a golf course.
The Fort Ostell Museum preserves and displays artifacts that tell the story of the history of Ponoka, including information about First Nations peoples here, Fort Ostell, and the experiences of early settlers in the area. Over 10,000 artifacts, including photos, documents, textiles, tools and equipment, furniture, and military items, are displayed in multiple exhibits throughout the museum. Events such as teas and cultural celebrations are held throughout the year. The Ponoka Community Golf Club has a semi-private 18-hole golf course, a driving range, golf cart rentals, lessons, golf leagues, two onsite dining options, and a variety of events. The club also hosts tournaments at various times during the season.
Lion’s Centennial Park is a popular spot for picnicking, attending outdoor events, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors. The park includes a pond stocked with trout, an open-air stage, sheltered picnic areas, restroom facilities, greenspace, a playground, and barbeque pits. The Ponoka Splash Park is a summertime favourite and allows kids of all ages to cool off in the summer heat with a variety of jets and sprinklers. The Hamilton Skateboard Park, popular with older kids, provides a variety of surfaces and structures for skateboarding and BMXing.
Top industries in Ponoka include agriculture (around 23% of the labour force), health and social services (around 11% of the labour force), and education and other services (around 7% of the labour force). Grain, dairy, and beef are major products in the agriculture sector here, and equestrian services are also common. Manufacturing, oil and gas, construction, and technology also make up a portion of the commercial landscape here, as does tourism and hospitality.
Ponoka’s Economic Development Board provides a variety of services and assistance to local businesses, and works to grow and promote the local economy.
Ponoka’s northern section has mostly low- to mid-priced single-family homes, most of which are set on large lots. Homes tend to be a mix of newer and older builds. Mobile home options, row houses, and vacant lots are also available here.
Single-family homes in the city’s central section tend to be more expensive than those in the northern section are, and there is plenty of higher-priced vacant land available here. Industrial and retail commercial space can also be found in this section.
In the southern section of the city, there is a mix of mid to high-priced single-family homes, many higher-priced vacant lots, and some large, industrial commercial property. Homes along the outskirts of this section tend to fetch the highest prices.
Ponoka’s schooling options include Ponoka Composite High School, Ponoka Elementary School, St. Augustine School, Ponoka Christian School, Mamawi Atosketan Native School, Diamond Willow Middle School, Twin Oaks School, and Ponoka Alternative Supports School. Other schooling options can be found in nearby communities.
There are no post-secondary options in the city, so residents must look to nearby communities for options such as Burman University, Maskwacis Cultural College, NorQuest College, and Lokken College.