Italian Day on The Drive returns Sunday, June 10!
Festivities take place from 12pm – 8pm
with opening ceremonies at 2nd Ave stage at noon
Looking for the biggest celebration of Italian culture west of the Mediterranean? Italian Day returns to Commercial Drive for another exciting year to celebrate Italian heritage, community and life filled with song, delicious food and a lively embracing spirit as this year’s theme – Musica – honours Italian music, and the role it has played as a cultural marker in Italian history and identity.
For the ninth year in a row, Italian Day in Vancouver will show its green, white and red colours proudly in a 14-block vibrant celebration with over 120 street participants, lifestyle attractions and activities. Serving as Vancouver’s largest cultural street festival celebration and one of Canada’s biggest urban festivals, Italian Day on the Drive has become synonymous with live music, food, patios, fashion, family-fun and so much more.
The birthplace of the symphony, opera, the piano and the do-re-mi’s themselves, music and dance has historically formed an important part of Italian culture.
From Italian composers like Giacomo Puccini and Antonio Vivaldi to Italian-styled operas written by George Frideric Handel and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, classical music originating from Italy had been a focal point for Europe for centuries.
But while Italy is known for its classical legacy, the country is also famous for its domestic genres such as Canzona Napoletana, the tarantella and regional folk music. A centrepiece for Italian heritage and culture, the sounds of Italy have evolved to include prominent pop rock and jazz musicians as well. With styles almost as diverse as the regional cultures of the country itself, the notes of Italy create a musical landscape that is unique to anywhere else in the world.
Celebrity Artist from Italy performing concert in Grandview Park
This year, the Italian Consulate General in Vancouver, together with the Italian Day Festival Society, are proud to present one of Italy’s most creative artists and innovative singer-songwriters of his time – Edoardo Bennato, whose music is distinguished in an imaginative blend of blues and rock’ n roll, with folk influences and even opera; and who will be performing live in concert with his 10-piece band on the Grandview Park stage at 4:45pm. A once in a lifetime opportunity for attendees to experience this free outdoor concert, like in la bella Italia, delivered by one of Italy’s legends.
Many soccer fans too will be familiar with Edoardo Bennato whose song ‘Un’estate Italiana’ (performed with Gianna Nannini) was the official theme song for the 1990 World Cup. The song remained number one on the hit parade for more than four months and became well-known all around the world.
Since the 1990s he has played with classical themes, Italian rock opera and new recordings dedicated to human rights, including rock/blues ‘Pronti a Salpare’, which became the winning song of the Italian Amnesty International Award in 2015. In November 2017 a triumphant and completely sold-out tour – in ten different cities – ended with an amazing concert in Naples accompanied by the Flegreo Quartet. In June 2018 the artist will be performing at the Comacchio Beach Festival (Italy), a music festival that takes place every year, showcasing internationally renowned artists, to celebrate the beginning of summer – and where just before coming to Vancouver, Bennato will present his latest work: “Mastro Geppetto”.
photo credit: Daniele Barraco
Authentic Italian Table
For the first time, Italian Day will feature an entire intersection dedicated to food and wine samplings presented by the Italian Chamber of Commerce as the ‘Authentic Italian Table’ Piazza, showcasing more than 10 stations with a variety of participants and products. Taking up the whole depth of the Grant street intersection, the attraction will offer attendees an opportunity to experience authentic Italian food products, fine wines and liquors, and gastronomic delights created in collaboration with local chefs.
Tickets to enter the Piazza can be purchased in advance via this link on the Italian Chamber website or on site at the festival.
It wouldn’t be an Italian festa without a banquet of delicious food offered up by Italian merchants and vendors: fried Italian donuts, cannoli, pasta, wood-oven panini, meatballs, gelato, arancini, pizza, espresso-based beverages and more. The festival will also include 15 extended patios, including Federico’s Tuscan style Italian Terrace, food trucks and other ethnic favorites dished up by the Drive merchants and visiting vendors.
Did someone say free samplings? Bosa Food and Choices will also be doing free Italian cheese samplings at Napier intersections!
Sing, dance and enjoy live music throughout the day with local Italian-Canadian music performances, and other special guests on the 2nd Avenue, Grandview Park and Piazza Moda stages, including those from the crowd-favourite restauranteur and showman, Federico Fuoco, and a new generation rising artist, Antonio Larosa. DJs will also line the street with the Jack FM broadcasting live at the Whitecaps Parker piazza and special Italo and latin mixes at 7th Ave by DJs Nick Guarna & Luigi Di Saba as Sam’s Dance also offers ‘Dance in Transit’ with dance and zumba lessons for visitors to enjoy. On Graveley-East, experience the Commercial Drive BIA’s “Little Italy Bocce Court Piazza”, complete with a bocce court, Motorino electric bikes, tasting tours and a sitting area. These, plus Italian Design on Wheels – Fiat, Alfa and Ducati showcase at 4th Ave, RE/MAX children’s zone in Grandview Park, BMO human foosball at Williams, Fortis pasta eating contests and DJ stage at 5th, singing stilt walkers, Napier Greenway solo performances, and more will keep everyone of all ages captivated.
To see performance and entertainment schedules on all stages and areas, please follow this link.
Pictured: Antonio Larosa
Other guest artists, both historic favourites and new faces include: Gruppo Folcloristico Choir, City Opera, David Pacini (from Italy), Lisa Petrucci, Luna Rossa, Jany Barucci, Dennis Mayer (Opera), Gianni Fuoco, Stephen Scaccia, The VFRS Band (Vancouver Fire Rescue swing/big band), Mariah Crudo, Venetian Opera and Casandra D’Amato.
Pictured: David Pacini
Pictured: City Opera
Piazza Moda – JAC Fashion Show
Translating to “fashion square” the Piazza Moda is an exclusive look at another aspect Italy is known for – fashion. Festivalgoers and fashion lovers can look forward to three separate fashion shows throughout the day with live entertainment in between sets. RozeMerie Cuevas, the featured designer behind the Vancouver-turned-international line, JAC by Jacqueline Conoir, will be exhibiting her creations for a showcase of la bella figura. Kalena’s Shoes, long time Drive merchant (since 1967), looks to complete the looks offering their Italian design shoes and accessories.
Designer Bio for JAC by Jacqueline Conoir
RozeMerie Cuevas – Designer and founder of two Canadian Brands, Jacqueline Conoir and JAC by Jacqueline Conoir.
Educated in Paris, France at ESMOD L’ECOLE DE STYLIST ET MODELIST.
During a 33-year design and business career, both the brands and RozeMerie Cuevas have received numerous design, influential women in business, and business innovator awards in Canada establishing them as Fashion Icons in the Canadian Fashion Industry.
In 2013, China became a business interest. A fortunate and chance meeting with a Chinese brand developer landed a partnership agreement to bring the JAC by Jacqueline Conoir brand to China. During the past 4 years, the JAC by Jacqueline Conoir Brand has grown to 110 stores through out better department stores across 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level cities China.
In Canada the JAC by Jacqueline Conoir Brand continues to be strong and in China will expand this year with 50 new stores in the projected plan. World wide the projection is to open more JAC by Jacqueline Conoir Brand stores in Canada, USA and Europe.
Raffle – Italian Day takes you to Italy
Italian Day will be giving away TWO trips to Italy courtesy of Air Canada. Among the prizes is a trip for two to Rome with a three-night stay at the Marcella Royal. Other prizes include an exclusive Italian jewellery set provided by San Marco Jewellers and a Taste & Shop Little Italy on The Drive experience. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase at the event by the 2nd Avenue stage, Grandview Park, Da Vinci Travel and at 7th Ave. For more information on raffle & prizes, visit our raffle page on Italian Day website here.
Italian Heritage Month
June has been proclaimed by the City of Vancouver as Italian Heritage Month (IHM). The Italian Cultural Centre (Il Centro) together with its cultural partners will present a month long festival that will celebrate, promote, and share Italian culture, language and heritage. Events include movie free outdoor screenings, delicious dinners, cooking classes, cultural performances, Italian Farmers Markets, Festas, cooking classes, street parties and more!
Italian Heritage Whitecaps Game
The Vancouver Whitecaps are featuring a special game devoted to the Italian heritage of many great players around the world. The match takes place on Saturday, June 9th 2018 at 4pm. In celebration of Italian heritage, the Whitecaps are featuring a ‘famiglia’ promotion to get tickets for $27 all in. Follow this link for more details and exclusive promo code to get these preferred prices.