British Columbia·Our Vancouver

'Mangiamo, let's eat!' Food takes centre stage at Italian Day on the Drive

Italian Day on the Drive is especially significant this year, as the City of Vancouver has designated eight blocks of businesses in the neighbourhood as "Little Italy."

This year's festival also celebrates Vancouver designating part of the Drive as 'Little Italy'

Italian Day on the Drive

6 years ago
Duration 4:09
Celebrating an important part of the city's culture 4:09

Italian Day on Commercial Drive is especially significant this year, as the city of Vancouver has designated eight blocks of businesses in the East Vancouver neighbourhood as "Little Italy."

This year's festival — the seventh since its return in 2010 — takes place on June 12 from 12 to 8 p.m.

"We invite everyone to come out and be Italian for the day," says Carmen D'Onofrio, president of the Commercial Drive Business Improvement Association. 

Even though the stretch is home to many cultures, Italians have called the area home for 60 years. Some of those original businesses are still open today.

"It's a part of the city that's very exciting. Commercial Drive always has the doors open to people and it's an area that I think is a jewel of Vancouver."

The opening ceremony begins at noon, followed by hours of entertainment and activities. 

And of course there will be food.

This year the theme is "Mangiamo!" which means "let's eat" in Italian. The saying doesn't just refer to the food on one's plate; the saying also includes the celebration, conversation, and spirit of the community.

Marco Cornale, owner of Fratelli's Bakery, said his team is making 5,000 cannolis for the day.

"It's definitely the pastry of the day," he said.

Other notable activities include human foosball, bicycle polo, and the vintage car show.

In the video above, Cornale and D'Onofrio tell Our Vancouver host Gloria Macarenko what people can expect to see (and eat) at this year's Italian Day.