Today, East Vancouver’s popular Commercial Drive is home to a varied, multicultural community, but its roots as Vancouver’s “Little Italy” still show, both in its Italian delis and cafes and in its huge celebration of all things La Dolce Vita, Italian Day on Commercial Drive.
Italian Day was an annual tradition on the Drive from 1977 – 1982, but it became so enormous that the event producers had difficulty handling the logistics, and the tradition petered out. But 2010 brought back Italian Day—the 2010 event attracted over 50,000 people—and now, hopefully, the celebration is here to stay. (It helps that Mayor Robertson has designated June 2011 “Italian Heritage Month” in the City of Vancouver.)
On Italian Day on Commercial Drive, the Drive is closed to traffic from Venables to Grandview. The area will be transformed into a free, “Little Italy” street festival, with tons of Italian food, music, entertainment, sports, and dance. There will be vendors, vespas, contests, games for kids, and a fashion show by Vancouver fashion designer Rozemerie Cuevas featuring her Euro-inspired Jacqueline Conoir collection (JAC).
Italian Day 2011 celebrates Vancouver’s 125th Birthday and the contributions made to our city by Italian Canadians as well as the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification. It should be quite a party; I know I plan to be there!
Italian Day on Commercial Drive happens Sunday, June 5, 2011, from 12pm – 8pm.
Have memories of past Italian Days? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!