Overnight, hundreds of Americans who want to move to Canada contacted Rob Calabrese, the creator of a site that encouraged Americans to flee to Cape Breton if Trump were to win.
What started as a lighthearted pitch to bring attention to the Atlantic island's out-migration plight, and how "attractive" Cape Breton really is, has taken on a life of its own. To date, about 6,000 Americans have contacted the Nova Scotian radio host to ask how they can move there. They're asking him about the immigration process, jobs, real estate and cost of living. He's taking them seriously and is pointing them toward sources of information to help them. But Calabrese warns them that immigrating to Canada from America "is one of the most difficult paths a person can take." "People don't realize that," he told VICE News. "One person came from Arizona on a visitor's visa, but she had to leave because it had expired. She's a retired person, and she has no family here, so she has no path, really, to immigrate." READ MORE: Could Americans Claim Refugee Status in Canada Due to the Trump Presidency? Calabrese has obsessively followed the election, and like virtually everyone, didn't expect Trump to win. He stayed up until 2:30 am until he "conked out in front of the TV," then woke up to the news of the shocking victory. He was relieved to hear Trump's speech replayed in the morning, and actually liked it. "It was a departure from what we saw during the campaign, anyone can see that. He said that he's going to represent all, and he said he will try to extend an arm to those who were on the other side during this long, hard campaign. So that's a little bit of solace there." "I was happy to hear that. A Donald Trump speech—it could have gone either way." The radio host insists he's not too worried about what Trump will do south of the border, although he's a bit concerned about his trade policies, given the US is Canada's biggest trade partner. Through Calabrese's odd campaign, he's brought attention to an island most Americans had never heard of. All of rural Atlantic Canada is rapidly losing people as they either die of old age or migrate to cities. But his site has encouraged interest in Cape Breton from not only Americans but businesses off-island, some of which had never heard of Cape Breton and have now done site tours. He calls the site "valuable" and sees no reason for it to end now. "I put as much time and thought into that website as someone would into making a lasagna, and now that Donald Trump has won, this website is becoming a part of the family. It's just something that has been there for the last nine months, and now there are no indicators that it's going to leave," he said. Follow Hilary Beaumont on Twitter.