VANCOUVER'S LARGEST CULTURAL FESTIVAL

Italian Day on The Drive!  is a vibrant cultural street festival celebrating Italian culture, heritage and community with over 150 street participants, comprised of partners, merchants, vendors and community organizations – and an estimated 300,000+ attendees of all ages and cultures.

 

Commercial Drive (The Drive), home to Little Italy, is the designated location for the annual festival where the street is transformed into a lively 14 block festa. Since Italian Day’s return in 2010, the event today represents the largest one day cultural street festival in Vancouver – and perhaps in Canada. A festive community embrace, The Drive comes alive in green, white and red with piazza style animated zones, live music, food, patios, fashion, retail vendors, vehicles, activities, children’s zones and more.

 

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LITTLE ITALY

Little Italy - Vancouver is an eight block stretch of Commercial Drive, four blocks north and four blocks south of 1st Avenue. From the 1940s – 1970s, the Commercial Drive area (The Drive) was the true enclave of Italian immigrants both in terms of businesses and residents. Ethnic Italians were the dominant influence in this district and were credited with revitalizing the neighbourhood which became known as ‘Little Italy’. 

 

Today, there is no question that the spirit and presence of ‘Little Italy’ remains at the heart of one of Vancouver’s most unique and vibrant cultural districts. We invite you to taste and experience the ‘Flavours of Little Italy on The Drive’ at some of The Drive’s best Italian owned treasures, spanning from new businesses to those who have roots as long as 80 years. Enjoy!

Commercial Drive is Little Italy

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May 6 2016Based on the strong historic foundations of the Italian community on Commercial Drive and input from residents, the eight block section between Charles Street and East 4th Avenue will be designated as Historic Little Italy. The Commercial Drive Business Improvement Association (BIA) asked us to designate part of Commercial Drive as Little Italy, in recognition of its Italian heritage. On April 6, City Council approved a motion to pursue this designation and directed staff to consult with the community about this proposal in advance of this year's Italian Day festival, June 12, 2016. (More)

 

City councillors unanimously voted on Wednesday (April 6) to officially recognize eight blocks on the Drive—four blocks north and four blocks south of First Avenue—as Little Italy.  (More)

 

Today, there is no question that the spirit and presence of ‘Little Italy’ remains at the heart of one of Vancouver’s most unique and vibrant cultural districts. We invite you to taste and experience the ‘Flavours of Little Italy on The Drive’ at some of The Drive’s best Italian owned treasures, spanning from new businesses to those who have roots as long as 80 years. Enjoy!

Italian Owned and/or Operated Businesses on The Drive

Did You Know?

It is said the area's name, Grandview-Woodland, originated around 1892, when one of the earliest residents nailed up the sign "Grand View" at the interurban stop near what today is the intersection of Commercial Drive and 1st Avenue.

 

Originally called Park Drive, because it headed straight to Clark Park at 14th Avenue, Commercial Drive was renamed in 1911. Grandview became known as "Little Italy" after the Second World War, when the original Italian community near Union Street moved east and was joined by new immigrants from Italy.

 

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