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Portion of Commercial Drive to be designated as Little Italy

May 6 2016

Commercial Drive at night

Based on the strong historic foundations of the Italian community on Commercial Drive and input from residents, the eight block section between Charles Street and East 4th Avenue will be designated as Historic Little Italy.

The Commercial Drive Business Improvement Association (BIA) asked us to designate part of Commercial Drive as Little Italy, in recognition of its Italian heritage.

On April 6, City Council approved a motion to pursue this designation and directed staff to consult with the community about this proposal in advance of this year's Italian Day festival, June 12, 2016.  

What we heard

A city-wide Talk Vancouver questionnaire from April 7– 24 gave residents and businesses an opportunity to share their opinions.

Consultation with the community demonstrated:

  • A considerable level of support for the designation (68% approval among the 1,307 participants)
  • A broad support for one or more physical components to visually mark the area, such as:
    • Specialized banners (67% approval)
    • Painted crosswalks (60% approval)   

How we will work with the community

We will work with the BIA and community groups to:

  • Support the designation of the area
  • Explore options for funding to physically mark the area as Historic Little Italy

About the area

While Vancouver's present-day Italian residential population is more dispersed, the Drive retains a prominent symbolic role as the commercial heart of Vancouver’s Italian community.

The area well-known for its numerous:

  • Italian restaurants
  • Coffee shops
  • Grocers
  • Community events

 At the same time, the Drive is a regional destination, celebrated for its diversity of businesses and known for its inclusive and eclectic mix of people, places, and festivals.