Italian day is annually held on the commercial street in Vancouver on the second Sunday of June nearby commercial Broadway Skytrain station. It starts usually in the afternoon around 2 until 6 or 9 PM in the evening. However, the main attraction lasts mostly up to 6 PM in the evening.
Little Italy on Commercial Drive: History
Many Italians immigrated to Vancouver and other parts of Canada in 1940s and 50s. In Vancouver, most of the immigrants got settled down in the commercial drive area. From the 1950s to 1980s, the commercial drive landscape was influenced by the Italian culture including houses, shops, streets, shopping areas, etc which can also be seen today. This area is often called “Little Italy on the Drive”.
Italian Day on Drive
A typical Italian day starts at around noon at 12:00 PM. A barricade is laid across the street by police using police cars to stop general transportation to cross the street. Since morning, all the vendors will start setting up their shops. At around noon, the crowd starts to pour in gradually and by 14:00 hours in the afternoon, the street becomes fully packed. In 2019 alone, around 300,000 people had come to see the festival. Entire commercial drive street is decorated with Italian colors of white, green, and red using flags and flying colors.
My Italian day experience
Stalls & Food
There will a lot of stalls on both sides of the drive where you can buy different food. Most of the food items are Italian Food items. Though there will be long queues at most of the food stalls if you want to order something.
There will a total of three stages on the Italian day on the drive. There will be a main stage in the center and two stages at an equal distance. The main stage hosts the main show while side stages host the sideshows. But that does not mean that side stages are not good. They are equally good and vibrant.
Music and Dance
There will be music and dance at the above stages. Initially, people feel shy but eventually, everyone starts dancing to the tune as the overall show starts coming towards the end. There will be a lot of tourists as well. People mingle with each other and its fun to be there.
Wine and Beer
The stalls selling alcohol will not be at the beginning of the drive. Those stalls are situated towards the end of the drive. You can taste a lot of different wines and beers within a package. People drink roadside and it’s fun to be there.
Here are some of the pictures from the Italian Day on Drive in Vancouver