For those of you that don’t know, Ponoka (pop. 6500ish) is located on highway 2A between Red Deer and Edmonton. When my career took me there, I got the opportunity to learn that it is also home to one of the friendliest communities I have ever been a part of. Although there are a lot of memorable occasions I could write about here, the thing that sticks out in my mind as being a truly Canadian experience is the Pancake breakfast we hosted in 2015 on Canada Day.

The Ponoka Stampede is pretty well known around Alberta, and the town fills up with visitors. Our team was throwing a pancake breakfast to raise funds to support STARS. I agreed to attend and help man the donation booth, while other colleagues volunteered to set up chairs, work the parking lot, or flip the flap-jacks. I was expecting a quiet morning and a small crowd – and boy was I wrong.

I have never seen so many people excited to eat pancakes! We practically filled up our yard with people from the community and outside it. There was music and dancing, laughter, kids, and no shortage of festive cowboy hats and plaid. Not only did I have a great time being a part of it, but we raised a big pile of cash to donate. That also happened to be the day I realized I was officially part of a community, and no matter where I wound up in Canada, I could find generous, friendly people, who love pancakes.

Jeannie P – Gemini Corporation

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