Italian Day on The Drive

About Italian Day

Sunday, June 11 2017 – 12pm to 8pm

Italian Day on The Drive is a vibrant cultural street festival celebrating Italian culture, heritage and respective immigrant contributions in Vancouver.  Commercial Drive, also known as The Drive, is home to the annual festival which transforms the street into a lively 14 block, vehicle free, celebration and community festa. Since Italian Day’s return in 2010, the event has grown significantly.  Today, Italian Day on The Drive represents the largest one day cultural street festival in the city – and perhaps in Canada – drawing over 350,000 enthusiastic attendees of all cultures and ages.  It is a multi-cultural and community embrace under the Italian Day umbrella offering over 200 street participants comprised of: sponsors, merchants, retail booths, food vendors and restaurant patios, as well as stages with live music and theatre, street performers, classic cars, activities and displays, children’s amusement zones and more.

Italian Day on The Drive is organized and produced by the Italian Day Festival Society in collaboration with:

The Commercial Drive Business Society
Il Centro Italian Cultural Centre
Anigraph Productions
City of Vancouver

Italian Day and Little Italy

In the 1940s and 50s, many Italian immigrants had made their home and established businesses in the Commercial Drive area.  Between the 1940s – 1980s, Commercial Drive had developed into an Italian enclave, otherwise known as Little Italy; and where Italo-Canadians played a key role in influencing and revitalizing the landscape, including the introduction of street festivals – with the last one of this era being in 1982. It was an unforgettable day on Commercial Drive with thousands of Italo-Canadians pouring onto the street in a passionate display of emotion, celebrating Italy’s win in the World Cup, which fell on the very same day as the festival. It was a the first Italy World Cup win since the 1930s. In 2016, Italian Day marked another important day of celebration. In recognition of over 70 years of Italian heritage, an 8 block area of Commercial Drive was officially designated Little Italy by the Mayor and other officials, including a ribbon cutting and special visit from the Italian Ambassador to Canada.  An achievement attributed to the support of government representatives, and community individuals and organizations, including the Italian Day Festival Society.  The return of Italian Day on The Drive revived this heritage conversation and opportunity, and has proven to not only be a day of community celebration, but also an avenue encouraging collective goals and economic benefits for businesses and city.

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Italian Day 2017 Theme: Amore

In Italian, Amore means love. Whether in philosophy or in its endearing use of expression, it lies at the heart of Italian culture and its lifestyle. It is a universal language and an exchange evoking many things: affection, romance, passion, respect, creativity, and commitment.  It is life, unity and the pursuit for an emotional connection; and is shared in relationships, arts and culture, at the dinner table, in our daily work, in pursued dreams, and in community.

Italian Day’s success is founded on the principal that together we can create and nurture trusted relationships and collaborations, fuelled by love and the belief in who we are and what we do. To quote David Frost, ‘Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally’.

For Italian Day 2017, we celebrate Amore in all aspects of life and the magical power it holds to inspire, connect and create infinite possibilities and experiences, both individually and collectively.

Balla come se nessuno stesse guardando,
ama come se nessuno ti avesse mai ferito,
canta come se nessuno stesse ascoltando,
vivi come se il paradiso fosse sulla terra

Dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth

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That’s Amore