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Vancouver’s Mercato Italian Market

Friday Italian Market

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.

It used to take place on four Friday evenings a year, but in 2019 it’s only happening twice. In the summer it’s both indoors and outdoors, and in November it’s indoors and has a Christmas theme.

Mercato Italian Market

The Mercato Italian Market is an artisan and imported goods market with an Italian theme. In 2019 it takes place on the Fridays of June 14th and November 29th.

It’s 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.

June 14th Market

The Italian market in the summer happens in June, which is also Italian Heritage Month. In 2019 it takes place on Friday, June 14th, from 4:30 until 9:30 pm.

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 is only the June event in the summer.

November 29th Market

In addition to its summer market(s), the Italian Cultural Centre hosts a Christmas-themed market in November each year. In 2019 it takes place indoors on Friday, November 29th, from 4:30 until 9:30 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.

Mercato Italian Market
Market Day in the Parking Lot

What’s 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 takes place, but in a slightly different format. This year there are 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 is no longer an area of focus.

As of 2019 the events are more artisan-focused. There are 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 takes 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, but just indoors in November.

Last year the Mercato Italian Market took place on the Fridays of June 15th, July 13th, August 17th and November 23rd. In 2019 the dates are just June 14th and November 29th.

Note: The Italian Cultural Centre is conveniently close to the Renfrew Skytrain Station.

Italian Market Display
Fresh produce from markets of years past

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.

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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 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 is still on Italian products and artisan goods, but no longer so much on fresh produce.

Other Information

For more information about the Friday markets at the Italian Cultural Centre, click Mercato Italian Market.

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