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'Italian Day' festival on Commercial Drive

Last Updated Jun 14, 2015 at 8:37 am PST


Commercial Drive is being transformed into a European piazza for "Italian Day"

One of the biggest street festivals of the year takes over East Vancouver today

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Hundreds of thousands of people will be enjoying gelato, drinking espresso and listening to opera in East Vancouver today.

Commercial Drive has always been at the heart of Vancouver’s Italian community, but expect even more red, white and green along the street today.

Carmen D’Onofrio with the festival says it’s a huge day for the neighbourhood to celebrate Italian culture, but also financially as well with many local stores having their busiest day.

“[You have] restaurants that have the extension of the patio into the street. You’ve got clothing stores and some boutique shops that have their biggest day of the year; bigger than Christmas so obviously the economic spin off is very very high.”

D’Onofrio says the day has come a long ways since its humble roots in 2009. “At first it was something new that we introduced and people thought it was a lot of work, is it going to be successful? Now people are counting down to when Italian Day is. The merchants have a lot of fun with it, do well obviously, and are able to get in touch with their customers. [It] brings people down here.”

Over 350,000 people took in the sights and sound of Italian Day last year.