New in Town helps people find what they need in our city

Nadine Riopel loves to help people connect and introduce newcomers to what Edmonton has to offer, so she’s started a podcast that combines both. 

“I was doing market research on how to best reach and support people who are new here. I found out that a lot of people in my target demographic listen to podcasts,” explains Riopel. “So it just seemed like the right way to go.”

From her home in Spruce Avenue, she offers professional services in team building and event hosting, but her podcast is a work of passion.

Called New in Town, the interview style format gets to the heart of what many people experience when arriving in a new city. What are the best restaurants? Where is a good mechanic?

The cheery intro to her conversational, half-hour sessions quickly breathe life into those everyday challenges, “the hidden gems of food and entertainment, practical stuff like how to get your utilities set up and what school to send your kid to.”

New in Town helps new Edmontonians connect to helpful resources. | Kate Wilson

Riopel recalls one newcomer recently asking her where to find taro root, and Riopel wanted to be that person who can bridge those information gaps.

“Moving is hard but exciting, and what can make it easier is if you know somebody,” she says. 

Her first podcast episode, posted June 20 and featuring guest and friend Janelle Smaill of Schmidt Realty Group, explores finding the right location to live when new to a city. Episode three widens the aperture to shed light on those things that make Edmonton the way it is—from transit in a “massive city” to densification and infill—and features Elise Stolte, columnist at the Edmonton Journal

Because her guests are also friends, the conversational style lends an intimacy that has the listener feeling like they’re right there. Interviews can be in someone’s house or at her own kitchen table. 

“I try to consider what perspectives and info would be helpful to my listeners,” she explains. “I also know a lot of very cool people with helpful things to share who are also friends and we can  bring that warm, welcoming, friendly feeling.”

While she grew up “mostly in Edmonton”, Riopel brings a Canada-wide perspective to the sessions, having also lived in Ottawa, Jasper, and New Brunswick, augmented by her degree in international relations and a background in customer service. 

After several years working in high-end hospitality and fundraising, Riopel wanted to launch her own business and started looking for ways to help people meet their potential. 

“Everybody wants to achieve great things and often what is needed is the right connection or conversation,” she says. “I love to make those things happen so that people can be all they can be.”

Her podcast is presented in tandem with ticketed events that bring newcomers to the city together. Her first one is on Sept. 21, in partnership with Work Nicer Coworking and the Alberta Podcast Network. 

“When you move to a new place, it makes all the difference to have somebody in-the-know guide you a bit, and that’s what we want to do with the events as well as the podcast,” she says.  If people have a topic they’d like covered, Riopel welcomes emails: Find the podcast here:

Featured Image: Nadine Riopel, shown here at a Spruce Avenue park, can set up her digital mic anywhere that’s convenient to record or edit her podcast. | Kate Wilson