When Mike Morrison left his hometown of Fredericton, New Brunswick for Alberta’s Calgary, he assumed he would never return without seeing her again. Morrison followed the path of a good train to find work for the Atlantic Canadians to the west, which some people returned. During the Middle Wall, Alberta was booming thanks to the high price of oil.
Moving west seemed to Morrison an easy choice. “If I stayed, my options would be to work as a provider teacher or call center.” When he arrived in Alberta, Morrison did three things. In her spare time, she started a blog to offer her friend’s home and TV shows about her life in the West. Gradually, Mike’s blog became one of the leading entertainment sites in Blog Canada, and Morrison found himself with regular newspaper and television appearances as well as local newspaper columns.
He then started a Calgary-based digital marketing conference called Social West, which has long expanded to three cities. His identity and public personality were associated with the city he adopted. “For a moment, I would tell people that I was paid to be a professional Calgary.” Then, in 2021, Morrison left Halifax, Nova Scotia, east of Calgary. Morrison and his colleagues are part of a wave of skilled young people disrupting the natural flow of Canada’s internal migration.
In doing so, they are taking part in an economic revival that could change the fate of the desperate Atlantic. When they return, young people like Morrison find that Atlantic Canadians have quietly built a strong start-up ecosystem that has resulted in dozens of acquisitions by companies such as IBM and Salesforce, the sum of which probably exceeds the amount of cash and savings. The Atlantic Canada story could provide a blueprint for embracing the effects of decentralization of COVID-19 to soap resource-based economies for knowledge economics in other rural areas. If you have never thought of Atlantic Canada before, you are not alone. In fact, many Canadians refer to Toronto as “East” although the earliest points in Canada and North America are within 1,900 miles between Drake and The Weekend’s hometown and St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The four provinces that make up Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador) are easy to ignore for their distance. Atlantic Canada has been cutting corners for nearly a decade, known for its sleepy seaside cities, kitchen parties, trouble-making redheaded orphans and lobsters.