About Ponoka

Nestled in the beautiful Battle River Valley, the Town of Ponoka is a thriving and welcoming community. 

Home to more than 7,330 people (Statistics Canada, 2021 Census of Population), Ponoka is centrally located along the Highway 2 corridor, less than an hour south of the Edmonton International Airport.

Ponoka is a growing community that offers urban amenities and quality living all in a picturesque, rural setting. It’s the perfect place to raise a family, to work and do business, and simply enjoy the good things in life.

Ponoka Stampede

Steeped in western heritage and agricultural roots, Ponoka is the proud home of the Ponoka Stampede, Canada’s largest 7-day pro rodeo. Since 1936, the Ponoka Stampede has been thrilling fans with jaw-dropping pro-rodeo action. It’s among the top rodeos in the world.

Staged each summer over the July 1st Canada Day weekend, the Stampede attracts thousands of rodeo fans and tourists who flock to Ponoka for world-class rodeo talent and star-studded concerts on the mainstage.

A trip to the Stampede isn’t complete without a visit to the Canadian Pro-Rodeo Hall of Fame located next door at the Cal-Nash Ag Event Centre. The Hall of Fame honors the greatest pro-rodeo legends of all time – many of whom are home grown Ponoka cowboys and cowgirls.

Together with the Ponoka Stampede, the Ag Event Centre is a big part of what makes Ponoka a pro-rodeo and agricultural hub that attracts action-packed rodeo, horse and livestock events year round.

Humble Beginnings

Ponoka means 'elk' in Blackfoot. Interestingly enough, our First Nation's neighbours immediately to the North are Cree in descent. The community originated in 1891 as a delivery point along the Calgary-Edmonton Trail. When the CPR arrived in 1895, the town site was known simply as "Siding 14" until an unknown railway employee wrote the name Ponoka on a sign to identify the community. Ponoka was incorporated as a town in 1904 and grew as settlers arrived from Eastern Canada and the American Midwest. The diversity of our citizens' nationality, backgrounds and age are instrumental in cultivating our local heritage.

Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury
The early days saw not only agriculture in the area but also lumber rolling down the Battle River and the construction of the Alberta Hospital Ponoka - a fully self-sustaining psychiatric facility complete with gardens for supplying its own food.

Today, that facility has evolved into the internationally-recognized Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury. The Centennial Centre is a state-of-the-art facility for the treatment and care of people with psychiatric disorders and brain injuries. Located just south of Ponoka's municipal boundary, the Centennial Centre employs nearly 1,000 staff today and continues to be an economic pillar in the Ponoka area and an integral part of the community.

The Centennial Centre also houses a satellite campus for MacEwan University's Registered Psychiatric Nursing program. It is one of two learning centres in the Ponoka area that offers access to post-secondary education courses and programs without having to leave the community.