130 merchants, 14 car-free blocks and one momentous day is on the Commercial Drive horizon this Sunday. The 2019 rendition of Italian Day promises to be one of the finest yet thanks to the six impeccable pillars that make this annual event ever so divine.


It wouldn’t be an Italian festa without a banquet of delicious Italian food. You’ll find some of the country’s finest pasta, pizzas and sausages at Italian Day. You’ll also find other traditional Italian cuisines throughout the festivities but we want carbs and meat and come Sunday, we (and you) will be able to find these in droves. Let’s not forget dessert though! Italy is the birthplace of gelato and Dolce Amore Gelateria will be Big Wreck “Blown Wide Open” all day long just below First Avenue. Do you know what goes great with gelato? Cannoli’s and pizzelle!


While the legendary patios along the Drive are typically available throughout the year, you can expect some larger crowds to infiltrate the surroundings this Sunday. With that said, time is of the essence. If you want to claim your spot to watch the crowds, you’re going to have to move quickly. We recommend the lookout from Federico’s Tuscan-style terrace or Havana’s. You may have to pull the old A&B Sound approach though and sleep on their doorstep the night before as the place will pack up quickly as soon as they unlock the doors. Even if you miss out there’s still a great chance you’ll find your perfect spot with 15 extended patios, food trucks and some scattered food and wine sampling opportunities.


Once again, the entertainment lining the streets will be second to none. These Italian folks, well, they pull out all the stops for one of the finest events of the year and it’s all for your ocular and auditory enjoyment. You’ll find everything from opera to jazz, hip hop to rock and classical to pop. They’ve got the whole musical spectrum covered along with some added DJ’s, classic car shows, soccer zones, food contests and even a few spots specially designed to keep the kids happy. Whether you’re a professional people watcher, a lover of crowds or just someone who could desperately use some fresh air, this is the day for you! With an expected 300,000 people ready to hit the Drive, you’re guaranteed to find some good folks, eats and times on tap. You can start in the middle and walkabout each way, you can start at the bottom and work your way up or you could be lazy like us and take the downhill method from Grandview to Venables.


Have you ever sat at an Italian dinner table or been to an Italian wedding? If so, you somewhat will get the gist of what we’re getting at here. There are few experiences that compare to smelling the incredible cuisine, hearing the beautiful language and watching each person emphasize their point with their hands. Nevermind the food, the shows and the atmosphere, the Italian people with their “Italianness” turned up to 11 is truly something to behold and it’ll be on full display on June 9th!


This day is not just about emphasizing food, hand talkers and Ferarri’s (although those things play a role in what make Italian Day so great). One of the biggest incentives – if not the biggest – is to learn about the people and how they transform our lovely little town. Even if you’re not partaking in the food, take a walk and chat with as many people as possible about their business, life and family story. A lot of the folks you meet will likely be first generation Canucks, if that. Their stories often begin in the hills of Northern Italy, the canals of Venice or the sensational lakes of the south.


As much as we want this day to be about somebody else, who are we kidding, we all want what’s best for me, myself and I. The iconic raffle serving up TWO pairs of Air Canada flights to Italy, along with some powerful prizing and paraphernalia (alliteration intended) valuing nearly $10,000 will be available to the winning tickets this weekend. Only 4,000 tickets total are printed and will be available at the festival. For more information, you can always head to Italianday.ca or follow them on Twitter.


Filed under: Commerical Drive, Events, italian day, Jack FM, On location, Vancouver, YVR