ABOUT EXIT ZERO
The Exit Zero Project is the culmination of a decade of journalism and documentary work by Greg Locke and others into the ongoing saga of Newfoundland’s migratory workforce from the 1800s to modern days.
It includes text, audio, photojournalism, documentary film and historic archive material.
It strives to continue this story through a blog, public stories and discussion in its NEWS section. You are invited to participate with your stories.
Locke’s family and friends have a generational connection to families moving away from Newfoundland due to economic uncertainties in the province and pre-confederation Newfoundland. He spent most of 2006 and 2007 travelling in western Canada and northern Alberta in particular as a journalist following this story. In Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie he followed the migration of Newfoundlanders as they headed west to work in the oil fields, mines, construction sites, and paper mills.
They included those who were just commuting from Newfoundland on 3 week rotational shifts and living in work camps and those who had been there for 30 years. They reminded him a lot of the other immigrant and ex-pat communities he grew up with in Toronto and around the world. A people detached from their roots but hanging on to what they believed to be an identity of the “old country.”
Newfoundlanders have been emigrating, commuting, and migrating for work for generations. Boston and New England in the mid 1800s. New York and Philadelphia in the 1920s and 1930s. Nova Scotia in the 1940s and 1950s and all across Canada, and around the world, from the 1960s to present day.
Exit Zero is the term used for the last or first ramp on a highway interchange. In St John’s, Newfoundland Exit Zero is the beginning/end of the Trans-Canada highway at Logy Bay Road in the east end of the city and a few short kilometres from the Atlantic ocean. An apt metaphor for the exit ramp from Newfoundland.
A version of some of these stories and photos have appeared previously in The Current, Macleans, Globe & Mail, Financial Post Magazine, Canadian Business, CBC, Facts and Opinions, Reuters and Time Magazine.