Italian Day on the Drive is an annual street party on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive that includes Italian food, music, festivities and thousands of people.
ITALIAN DAY AND COVID-19
On April 24th, 2020, Italian Day on the Drive was cancelled for this year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and government instructions that large events not take place this summer. Sunday, June 14th, would have been the event’s 10th anniversary!
In their statement about the cancellation, the organizers said that, since late March, they have “been in discussions with the City of Vancouver and other stakeholders regarding an inspirational and creative alternate proposal intended to share a message of courage and hope from the ground to the rooftops across the city of Vancouver.” In other words, they are looking at ways they can celebrate in other ways!
So Italian Day on the Drive as it has been in the past has been cancelled. Hopefully they’ll still be able to offer something, possibly online, but details are to be determined.
Italian Day on Commercial Drive in 2020
If you like street parties, live music, pasta and fun outdoors in the city, then you’ll want to check out Italian Day.
It’s reputedly the region’s largest street party event, attracting a couple of hundred thousand participants most years.
Where and When
Italian Day on the Drive takes place each year on the second Sunday in June. In 2020 the festival was going to be on Sunday, June 14, from noon until 8 pm.
In years when it does happen, the event runs along Commercial Drive in Vancouver’s “Little Italy” for the 14 or so blocks between Venables and Grandview.
Italian Day on the Drive
At Italian Day on the Drive expect to see over 120 different market vendors, lots of green, white and red colours, and some 20 different patios featuring Italian foods from local restaurants serving everything from pizza to pasta to gelato.
There are also cooking demonstrations, food samples, soccer games, a pasta eating contest, street performers, an Italian clothing fashion show, DJs and three different main stages offering live music and other entertainment including Jazz and opera.
For children there are also crafts and other activity stations, plus for adults lots of opportunities to buy great espressos and cappuccinos.
Musicians and other performers entertain from three different stages over the course of the day along Commercial Drive. The 2020 lineup was not released before the event got cancelled. For an idea of what to expect in 2021, below is the schedule from 2019.
Grandview Park Stage
Grandview Park is located at 1657 Charles Street (on Napier Street between Charles and William Street).
Below was the schedule for the stage at the park in 2019.
- 12:30 pm – Coro Folcloristico Trevigiano
- 1:20 pm – Luna Rossa
- 2:45 pm – Carmelina Cupo
- 4:00 pm – Marco Bori & Danilo Ciaccia
- 4:45 pm – Laura Crema
- 5:35 pm – Vancouver Opera
- 6:25 pm – Notte Italiana
- 7:15 pm – Songpati Latinband
2nd Avenue Stage
Below was the 2019 schedule for the stage located at the intersection of Commercial Drive and 2nd Avenue.
- 12:00 pm – Opening Ceremony
- 1:15 pm – Gianni Fuoco
- 2:10 pm – Notte Italiana
- 3:35 pm – Federico Fuoco and Fire
- 5:00 pm – City Opera
- 5:50 pm – Stephen Scaccia
- 6:20 pm – Marco Bori & Danilo Ciaccia
- 7:05 pm – Jany Barucci
- 8:00 pm – Raffle Draw
Piazza Moda – Fashion Show & Entertainment Stage
This stage is located at the intersection of Commercial Drive and 3rd Avenue. Below is what was on the schedule for 2019.
- 1:30 pm – Stephen Scaccia
- 2:05 pm – Marco Bori & Danilo Ciaccia
- 2:45 pm – Grandi Fashion Show
- 3:20 pm – Jany Barucci
- 4:05 pm – Venetian Opera
- 4:40 pm – Notte Italiana
- 5:25 pm – Grandi Fashion Show
- 6:00 pm – Lisa Petrucci
- 6:40 pm – Grandi Fashion Show
- 7:10 pm – Dennis Mayer
Italian Day on the Drive is a fabulous family-friendly event well worth checking out. For more information see the Italian Day website.
For other events at different times of the year, see Vancouver’s Festivals and Events Calendar. Events you’ll find there that are similar to Italian Day coming up in June include the various Car Free Day celebrations on Commercial Drive, Main Street and Denman Street, as well as Greek Day on Broadway in late June.