Background, Notes, and Trivia
- In Episode 1x03 - "Fata Morgana", a locator device used by the Cabal Team Leader places Old City somewhere near the far western end of the boarder between Northwestern US (Washington) and Southwestern Canada (British Columbia).
- A camera sequence at the very end of Episode 1x13 - "Revelations, Part II" indicates that Old City is located on the north side of a river near Vancouver, British Columbia. Across the river to the south is "New City", the other half of the metropolis full of modern high-rises and skyscrapers.
- The creators and producers of the show intentionally left the specific location (country) of Old City to be ambiguous outside of the assumption that it is somewhat of a "subdivision" of Vancouver. Due to this, it is naturally assumed by viewers to be in Canada.
- In Episode 4x05 - "Resistance" as Henry tracks an Abnormal via GPS that was taken by SCIU, he specifically says that SCIU transported the Abnormal "across the border" reaffirming that Old City is indeed in Canada.
- The city has a campanile among its building architecture; It is used as a landmark reference for Abnormal case locations.
The United Nations and the U.N. Security Council are heavy players in the metropolis (especially Old City and the Fifth Ward specifically) during the Abnormal Insurgency. As the Sanctuary Network was in alliance with the United Nations (funded and fully backed by the British Government) between 1908 and early-2011, Dr. Helen Magnus had particular sway with the world's governments to let her control all of the abnormal events / cases that happened around the globe, especially in 'her own backyard'. In early-2011, Magnus and Will could at least try to direct the actions of LDC (a private military force used by the U.N.), having them place their Abnormal holding camp on a large vacant lot that Helen owned. However, 3 weeks later the agreement between the Sanctuary and the U.N. broke when liaison Greg Addison tried to force the Sanctuary Network under the explicit control of the U.N. Security Council. Due to this 'exile', it allowed for other agencies to get involved in 'Sanctuary affairs' around the city; the dealings with Abnormals and Abnormal threats.
While Canada is part of the U.N., it is only a temporary seat of the U.N. Security Council unlike the United States who is a permanent seat. Due to the U.N. connection and the U.S. being a defining force behind it, it allows two U.S. agencies - the FBI and SCIU (a new Abnormal hunting division under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) - to infiltrate the metropolis, granting them jurisdictional power to act on Canadian grounds. The agencies set up a joint task force operations base in the FBI's field office in a high-rise building in New City which is located almost directly across the river from the Old City Sanctuary; giving them line-of-sight of the property.
Of this joint task force, Abby Corrigan (FBI) and Dr. Will Zimmerman (Former FBI) were brought under the management of SCIU. Due to Will's connection with the Sanctuary, Greg Addison had reactivated him as an FBI agent in the hopes to get close to Helen Magnus due to her apparent affiliation with Caleb. Helen, however, sent Will away to work with SCIU (the only legal option) and locked him out of the Sanctuary; preventing him from returning. Will had to resort to using his SCIU credentials to blackmail Capt. Franklin (a former colleague of his) of the OCPD with high connections to the city's Mayor's office to set up a false meeting try to get Dr. Magnus out in the open to arrest her. As Dr. Magnus fled the scene, Will made Capt. Franklin call for police backup. This interaction shows that SCIU has power over local (Canadian) law enforcement, to force them into acting against their long-standing relationship with Helen Magnus. They unfortunately have to comply as the U.N. Security Council had 'blacklisted' the Sanctuary Network, practically barring anyone from working with and or aiding the network and its leader Helen Magnus; considering it a 'federal offense' if someone does so.