Italian Day on The Drive returns Sunday, June 11!
Join thousands of festivalgoers and celebrate Italian culture with delicious food and
family-friendly attractions in Vancouver’s Little Italy
Vancouver, BC – Looking for the biggest celebration of Italian culture west of the Mediterranean? Italian Day returns to Commercial Drive for it’s 8th year to celebrate Italian culture, community and heritage.
Commercial Drive will transform into a festive, 14-block celebration zone, filled with over 200 exciting merchants, food vendors, live entertainment and more. Last year’s festival saw Italian Day on The Drive take the top spot as the largest one-day cultural street festival in Vancouver, and 2017 is expected to be no different.
This year’s Italian Day theme is Amore, and will attract enthusiastic attendees, no matter what age or culture, with its universal message – love.
A simple five-letter word meaning “love”, Amore sits at the heart of Italian culture. Italian Day on The Drive will bring together people from all cultures to celebrate amore and its power to connect and inspire. An intrinsic concept of the Italian lifestyle, festivalgoers are invited to celebrate and share the love that will blanket The Drive from end to end.
It wouldn’t be an Italian cultural celebration if there weren’t a prominent focus on food and beverages. Delicious Italian street food including fried Italian donuts, cannoli, pasta, panini, meatballs, gelato, arancini, pizza, panzerotti, coffee, and espresso based drinks will transport you to the streets of Venezia, Roma and Firenze as you make your way down The Drive. Celebrate 60 years in the Lower Mainland with Bosa Foods by trying Bosa brand imports at their Drive storefront; or visit La Grotta Del Formaggio for specialty cheeses and their award winning panini; take a seat at one of the more than 15 extended merchant patios; or indulge in the selections offered by over 20 food trucks, including returning favourites Via Tevere Woodfire Sandwiches; and don’t forget a visit to the Cannoli King or Fratelli’s bakery to complete your delicious culinary journey around the country.
Did someone say free samplings? Check out the Mastro San Daniele Piazza on 3rd Avenue offering free salumi samplings, along with seating area and mini stage.
Live music and theatre, street performers, roaming stilt walkers, classic cars, children’s amusement zones and more will entertain attendees all day along The Drive. Highlight performances taking place on the Italian Day stages include special guest performers from Italy – Danilo Ciaccia and his ItalyAMO band, sponsored by Air France. Put together especially for Italian Day 2017, Danilo and his band will be performing Amore themed covers and original songs at Il Centro Amphitheatre stage at Grandview Park.
As well, on the 2nd Ave Main Stage, crowd favourite, Federico Fuoco will be performing with his band Fire, in addition to singer Carmelina Cupo, and local favourites from the Vancouver Opera.
To help celebrate and share the love of Italian heritage through music, all the way from Rome courtesy of Air France, guest DJs Pippo Lorusso and DJ Osso from Italy’s national radio station, M2O, will be entertaining visitors throughout the day. Bring your dancing shoes and take a love trip with a blend of vintage and commercial house music, combining themes of yesterday and today, filled with anecdotal humour highlighting the Italian family of the past and present!
Comedian Guido Grasso, special guest from Montreal, will be performing at Federico’s Supper Club on Thursday, June 8 as a pre-Italian Day Amore highlight for an exclusive evening of dinner and comedy. With a career on a meteoric rise, Guido is blessed with a rapier wit, an outstanding stage presence and indelible comedic delivery.
Little Italy and Canada 150
In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, Il Centro has created a special series of events, showcasing the wonders of Italian culture and the important role Italian Canadians have had in shaping our country’s history. Named after Giovanni Caboto (better known as George Cabot) who discovered Canada, The Caboto Series is a celebration of the influence that Italy has had in shaping the multi-cultural landscape that Canada is known to embrace.
In addition, Il Centro’s museum will host an Italian and Cantonese Opera Exhibition in June, as part of the Italian Heritage month celebrations, and if you’re into Jazz, look no further than the Vancouver International Jazz Festival starting on June 24, where Italian Jazz will be prominently featured.
With featured attractions for the whole family, Italian Day is the perfect way to indulge and have fun on a summer afternoon. Fifth Avenue will be transformed into an Italian corner and will be a one-stop shop for visitors, offering the full Italian experience, featuring music, displays and even more food.
Whitecaps and BMO Human foosball, a Car2Go lounge filled with activities for members, and displays featuring new and vintage vehicles will keep you busy in between the Italian cuisine and music.
Don’t forget to purchase your raffle tickets at one of the three raffle stations (Grandview Park, 2nd Ave and Da Vinci Travel) for your chance to win one of five prizes being given away, with a total value of over $9,000. To coincide with this year’s theme, 1st & 2nd prizes are Air France round trips to two cities of ‘love’: 1st Prize is a trip for two from Vancouver to Rome, and 2nd prize is a trip for two from Vancouver to Paris!
Partial proceeds support Dream Big Productions and Theatre Temp, which fosters youth mentoring via Templeton Secondary School’s award winning film and theatre programs.
Event: Italian Day on The Drive 2017
Location: Commercial Drive (from Venables St. to Grandview Cut)
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2017
Time: 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
As the street will be closed to vehicle traffic between Venables St. and the Grandview cut, it is recommended that visitors walk, cycle, transit or Car2Go (there will be some dedicated parking for Car2Go members) to get to event. Bicycle Valet will also be on site.