Once Upon a Time is set in the fictional small town of Storybrooke, Maine. The town is populated by characters from fairy tales. They have been exiled to the real world due to a curse cast by the Evil Queen, who was upset at Snow White and Prince Charming. Because of the curse, almost all of the inhabitants of Storybrooke have no memory of their true fairy tale identities and have been stuck timelessly in Storybrooke for years. None can leave, though regular folks may pass through or stay if they so choose.

Exterior scenes are filmed in the very real village of Steveston Village, BC, Canada. It is a very scenic town just north of Seattle. Many shows have been filmed near Vancouver for decades because of the cost advantages of doing so.

Steveston was originally a small town near Vancouver, British Columbia, but has since been absorbed into the city of Richmond, British Columbia. It is a historic salmon canning centre at the mouth of the South Arm of the Fraser River. Steveston long has had a sizeable Japanese-Canadian community. The town now is primarily a suburb of Vancouver. It is perhaps best known as a location for shooting of scenes in "The X Files," though numerous other shows have been shot there.

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