The Mercato Italian Market is an Italian product and artisan market at Vancouver’s Italian Cultural Centre on a Friday in mid-June and late November.
Mercato Italian Market
The Mercato Italian Market is an artisan and imported goods market with an Italian theme. It used to take place on four Friday evenings a year, but in 2019 only happened twice. In the summer it was both indoors and outdoors, and in November it was indoors and had a Christmas theme.
In 2019 the Mercato Italian Market took place on the Fridays of June 14th and December 4th. There were no markets in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In years when it does take place, the market is a popular event for Vancouver’s Italian community, but also for the general public and anyone who likes all things Italian.
Admission to the markets is free and so is the parking. Also, in addition to things to buy and food to eat, there are usually a few activities for children (like arts and crafts) and live music.
NOTE: 2019 was the last year for the Mercato Italian Market in the summer (at least for now). The Christmas Italian Market may happen again in 2021 (unless cancelled due to COVID-19), but not, we understand, the summer market. The summer event might happen again in a future year, but it will be taking at least one year off. Hopefully it will happen again, but details are to be confirmed.
June 14th Market
The Italian market in the summer of 2019 happened in June, which is also Italian Heritage Month. In 2019 it took place on Friday, June 14th, from 4:30 until 9:30 pm.
In years when it takes place, the summer market is held both indoors and outdoors and features as many as 50 vendors. Items for sale include everything from pasta to olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cannoli, gelato, baked goods, wine, beer and artisan products.
At the market there are also a small number of food trucks. The Italian Cultural Centre kitchen also usually has a stall selling homemade pasta or other Italian cuisine. Tables and chairs are set up for people to enjoy their dinners and other refreshments at.
In the past there have also been similar markets in July and August. In 2019, however, there was only the June event in the summer. In 2020 there was no summer market at all. 2021 details are to be confirmed.
December 4th Market
In addition to its summer market(s), the Italian Cultural Centre hosts a Christmas-themed market in November most years. In 2019 it was originally scheduled to take place indoors on Friday, November 29th, from 4:30 until 9:30 pm. The times and date changed, however, to Wednesday, December 4th, from 4:00 until 9:00 pm.
Food at the winter event is prepared by the Centre’s caterers. In a typical year there are 50+ vendors and close to 2000 people in attendance. Santa also usually makes an appearance and is available for photos. Admission is free and photos are by donation.
What Was New and Different in 2019?
In the summer the Mercato Italian Market used to be similar to other Lower Mainland farmers markets except that it happened only four times per year, had an Italian theme, and took place in the evening as opposed to mornings and afternoons.
In 2019 the market still took place, but in a slightly different format. In 2019 there were only two market days instead of four. Also, whereas in the past there have been vendors in the summer selling organic produce and fruits and vegetables, in addition to local artisan products and imported Italian goods, in 2019 fresh produce was no longer an area of focus.
As of 2019 the events are more artisan-focused. In the summer there were still Italian products, like canned tomatoes and dry pasta, but not so much in the way of farmers market-style produce. Also in the past, the summer markets used to take place in the parking lot of the Italian Cultural Centre, which meant not so much parking space for visitors to park their cars. In 2019 the summer market took place both indoors and outdoors, but no longer in the parking lot (which is good).
Where and When
The Mercato Italian Market takes place at the Il Centro Italian Cultural Centre at 3075 Slocan Street which is just off Grandview Highway about a kilometre east of John Hendry Park and Trout Lake.
The market happens both indoors and outdoors at the Italian Cultural Centre’s in the summer (in years when it takes place), but just indoors in November or December.
In 2018 the Mercato Italian Market took place on the Fridays of June 15th, July 13th, August 17th and November 23rd. In 2019 the dates were just June 14th and December 4th.
Note: The Italian Cultural Centre is conveniently close to the Renfrew SkyTrain Station.
About the Italian Market
The Mercato Italian Market is part artisan market, part imported-goods market and part night market. It is similar to other food and artisan markets in the Lower Mainland, but with an Italian theme and an evening schedule.
Compared to other Metro Vancouver night markets, like the Asian-themed Richmond Night Market or North Vancouver’s Shipyards Night Market, the Italian event is tiny, quieter and far less crowded. It’s still a nice little night market though in its own special way.
Italian Market History
The Mercato Italian Market has been running since 2014. In that year it took place every third Friday from August until November. It was also more of an afternoon and early evening market then, with operating hours running from 3:00 until 7:00 pm.
In 2015 there were seven markets scheduled – one each in May, June, July, August, September, October and November (although the October one got cancelled).
In more recent past years the market has run just three times in the summer and once about a month or so before Christmas. Up until 2018 the summer market featured a wide selection of farmers market-style produce as well as imported Italian goods and local artisan products. As of 2019, the focus was still on Italian products and artisan goods, but no longer so much on fresh produce.
In 2020 no Italian markets took place because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully they will be able to resume in 2021.
For more information about the Friday markets at the Italian Cultural Centre, click Mercato Italian Market.
Other articles you might be interested in include the following:
- Lower Mainland Farmer’s Markets
- Vancouver Summer Night Markets
- Lower Mainland Christmas Craft Fairs
- Italian Day on the Drive (an Italian-themed street party in June)
- Best Places for Shopping
- Festivals and Events Calendar
- June and November Event Calendars