|Town of Ponoka|
|Municipal district||Ponoka County|
|• Village||October 19, 1900|
|• Town||October 15, 1904|
|• Mayor||Kevin Ferguson|
|• Governing body||Ponoka Town Council|
|• MP||Blaine Calkins (Conservative)|
|• MLA||Ron Orr (UC)|
|• Land||17.33 km2 (6.69 sq mi)|
|Elevation||807 m (2,648 ft)|
|• Density||417.1/km2 (1,080/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (MST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
|Forward sortation area|
|Area code(s)||+1-403, +1-587|
|Highways||Highway 2A |
Ponoka // is a town in central Alberta, Canada. It is located at the junction of Highway 2A and Highway 53, 59 kilometres (37 mi) north of Red Deer and 95 kilometres (59 mi) south of Edmonton.
The name Ponoka is Blackfoot for "elk", which is the animal depicted in the town flag. Ponoka County's municipal office is located in Ponoka.
Ponoka (meaning elk in Cree) is in a territory that was occupied and stewarded by the Cree people for thousands of years. The colonial settler town of Ponoka originated in 1891 as a waypoint for the railway from Edmonton to Calgary; the town was formally incorporated in 1904.
In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Ponoka recorded a population of 7,229 living in 3,010 of its 3,301 total private dwellings, a 6.7% change from its 2011 population of 6,778. With a land area of 17.33 km2 (6.69 sq mi), it had a population density of 417.1/km2 (1,080.4/sq mi) in 2016.
In the 2011 Census, the Town of Ponoka had a population of 6,773 living in 2,785 of its 3,047 total dwellings, a 3% change from its 2006 population of 6,576. With a land area of 13.05 km2 (5.04 sq mi), it had a population density of 519.0/km2 (1,344.2/sq mi) in 2011. In 2012, Statistics Canada adjusted Ponoka's 2011 population by an additional 5 people to 6,778 to reflect its 2011 annexation.
Industries are agriculture (grain and cattle production) and oil and gas production.
Ponoka is home to the Ponoka Stampede, a seven-day rodeo held at the end of June or beginning of July, usually coinciding with the Canada Day long weekend. This annual event attracts rodeo competitors and fans, and features a midway and other activities.
The Wolf Creek Trail starts at the southern end of Ponoka near the Ponoka Community Golf Course and travels northwards along the Battle River for several kilometres. Informational signs are posted along the trail featuring descriptions of various local wild animals and historical facts. Several baseball diamonds, benches and picnic tables are also located along the trail.
Lions Centennial Park is a major park located along the west side of Highway 2A. It features a pond with a dock, several bathroom facilities, a stage, "The World's Largest Bucking Saddle Bronc and Rider", the Centennial Time Capsule, several gazebos with picnic tables and the Fort Ostell Museum, as well as a splash park.
Health care facilities in Ponoka include the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre, the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury, the Northcott Care Centre, and the Rimoka Housing Facility. The Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre is responsible for general health care, while the Centennial Centre serves as a care and treatment facility for mental health and is known for its brain injury program (the Halvar Jonson Centre for Brain Injury). The Northcott Care Centre, Rimoka Housing Facility and Seasons Retirement Community all care for the elderly, with the Northcott Care Centre focusing on care for people with disabilities and Seasons providing supportive living care.
Fire service is provided by the Ponoka County Volunteer Fire Department. Policing is the responsibility of the Ponoka Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Detachment. General bylaw enforcement is undertaken by the town's special constable in collaboration with the RCMP.