By Randy Rinaldo (Il Centro – Italian Cultural Centre, Vice-President and Italian Day Festival Society, Director)
The installation on the much anticipated Little Italy crosswalks began this week, seven months after the surprise $160,000 donation by Fortis BC at the annual Il Centro Italian Cultural Centre Gala . Two crosswalks will be installed at Commercial and Charles as well as Commercial and 4th, and four crosswalks at 1st and Commercial Drive. Complementing the crosswalks will be “Little Italy on The Drive” circular stamps found on sidewalk corners of intersections, marking the official 8 block heritage district.
Momentum seems to be on the Italian community’s side ever since Italian Day was resurrected in 2010. Following six wildly successful years of the festival, an official designation of Little Italy (something that should have happened decades ago) could no longer be ignored by City Council and was passed thanks to Councillor Melissa De Genova’s motion in 2016 in time for the seventh edition of the festival.
The many who worked tirelessly to get these initiatives executed successfully couldn’t be more ecstatic. A new generation of Italo-Canadians have demonstrated the power of passion and community and what it can achieve; and the Italian Day Festival Society, in collaboration with the Commercial Drive Business Association, and the Italian Cultural Centre are delivering in a big way.
We hope the crosswalks are just the beginning of an Italian themed art landscape in Vancouver’s Little Italy, paying homage to Italian heritage and contributions. There is a beating heart determined to bring life and colour to the city of Vancouver, and who else than the Italians to lead that charge.
Here’s to a vita that’s a little more dolce!
See you on Italian Day, June 9th.