Creator of joke website 'Cape Breton if Trump Wins' isn't laughing

A website that started as a joke — should Donald Trump secure the American presidency — is no longer funny for its creator.

'If you're asking did I think he would win? Then I don't think anyone in the world could have said, 'Yes''

Rob Calabrese, a radio announcer, takes a call from an NPR radio station in Connecticutt during his own live show on Tuesday. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

A website that started as a joke — should Donald Trump secure the American presidency — is no longer funny for its creator. 

Rob Calabrese started the website Cape Breton if Trump Wins earlier this year as a fun project, but it has unexpectedly taken up a lot of his time.

"I don't know man, I think it's pretty crummy news," Calabrese told CBC's Information Morning of the U.S. election results.

"It was kind of a joke. It was a way to shine a light on our kind-of population problem in Cape Breton. If you're asking did I think he would win? Then I don't think anyone in the world could have said, 'Yes.'"

He said in the first few weeks after the website's February launch, almost a million people visited the site. Thousands wrote to Calabrese with questions about how they could move to Cape Breton, and he said he received queries from both Trump supporters and those who backed Hillary Clinton.

Canadian immigration website crashes

He said if U.S. citizens want to move and become Canadian citizens, they should be prepared for a difficult journey.

"It's not easy," Calabrese said.

When asked about Canada's Immigration and Citizenship website crashing overnight, Calabrese laughed and said he doesn't know how "robust" the site is. The cause of the crash is not clear. 

"I wonder about that website though — doesn't it seem to be whenever more than six people are on it, it crashes?" he joked.

Just wanted things to go back to 'normal'

Calabrese said an influx of Americans looking for a Canadian escape a few months of the year would not be the answer to Cape Breton's out-migration problem. 

"We're hemorrhaging here. We lose a thousand people a year and having someone who lives here for a few months in the summer does not build a community," he said.

A website launched by Calabrese earlier this year, called Cape Breton if Trump Wins, garnered international attention and he was interviewed by CNN reporter Paula Newton. He says he thought Donald Trump would lose and concede defeat. (Vaughan Merchant/The Canadian Press)

Calabrese is honest about the outcome he had been hoping for.

"I was hoping that Hillary Clinton would win, Donald Trump would concede defeat and things would just go back to normal where nobody paid attention to politics in the United States anymore in this country," he said.

"And what has happened is that Donald Trump has won and I have a website called 'Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins' and there's no doubt that Cape Breton will continue to receive a lot of attention, I don't know, maybe for years? Who knows?"

With files from CBC's Information Morning

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