How 'The Crossing' Setting Makes The Time Travel Mystery Even More Dramatic

Jack Rowand/ABC

At first glance, Port Canaan seems to be the kind of small town that is indistinguishable from other suburban communities in America. However, the coastal Oregon town becomes anything but normal when 47 mysterious refugees from an unknown war wash up on their shore. The Port Canaan town isn't real, but The Crossing uses the seemingly average setting of suburban Oregon to tell a story that is anything but.

The setting is crucial to any genre show, be it the Island from Lost, Sunnydale, California in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, or the titular town of Twin Peaks. The coastal town of Port Canaan becomes as essential to The Crossing as the show's sci-fi elements are — establishing a dark and contemplative tone to the proceedings.

The usually sleepy town was intended to provide Sheriff Jude Ellis, played by Steve Zahn, with a relaxing change-of-pace after working in Oakland, California. However, the quiet town gets a rude awakening when 47 refugees reveal that the war they're running from hasn't happened yet — the war happens 250 years in the future. With the refugees, the local sheriff, and the federal government all attempting to make the best of the situation at hand, Port Canaan will no longer be the charming coastal village it once was. Instead, Port Canaan becomes the site of a movement to prevent a war that is a quarter-millenium in the making.

The most distinctive part of Port Canaan is its coast, which, prior to the appearance of the refugees, may have been a popular tourist destination or a cozy weekend getaway. In fact, there is actually a real touristy place with a similar name — the Canaan–Hereford Road Border Crossing. It's the border between Vermont and Quebec and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.

However, The Crossing takes place on the opposite coast, and when a large number of living refugees rise up from the Pacific Ocean, the town quickly begins to change. Makeshift campsites are set up on the beach for those who managed to escape the future-war alive, and military vehicles soon begin to populate the streets of Port Canaan. It goes from being an average American town to becoming more like the dystopian future that the refugees are running from.

However, in reality, the town of Port Canaan isn't American at all. While Port Canaan is as American of a small-town as you're likely to find on television, the locations that represent the town are all from Canada. According to Inside Vancouver, the series filmed in the Canadian city of Vancouver in British Columbia. The city is a popular spot for the filming of television series, and has housed shows such as A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Supernatural, and Arrow. The city is about 300 miles north of Oregon's northern border, and resides on the continent's western coast, making the location a fitting substitute for coastal Oregon.

The Canadian-filmed and American-set The Crossing may begin in Port Canaan, but that doesn't mean that the show will remain in Port Canaan. After all, the 250-years-in-the-future war seems to have enveloped the entire world, or at least all of the United States of America. While the town quickly becomes a cause for national concern, the setting could also open up to Washington D.C. or other locations with parties that are interested in keeping the situation in Port Canaan under control. If the whole world is really in danger, it's fair to expect the whole world to eventually get involved in the events of The Crossing.

Then again, with a story that involves time-travel, there's no telling where the story of The Crossing will take its cast. The question may not even be where the story of The Crossing will go, but when it will go. Could audiences bet getting a glimpse of what Port Canaan is like 250 years in the future? Will the citizens of the present-day Port Canaan end up going back 250 years themselves to see the 18th century? With so much mystery surrounding The Crossing and few answers, the show could go in any of a million different directions. The only certainty is that Port Canaan, Oregon will never be the same.