The Little Italy section of Commercial Drive so beloved by local foodies has finally been officially recognized by the City of Vancouver.
The city voted unanimously Wednesday, April 6 for a motion put forward by Coun. Melissa De Genova to get the area properly designated in time for the annual Italian Day festivities on June 12.
“I’m very excited and I know the Italian community is absolutely thrilled by the news,” De Genova told Vancity Buzz.
— Melissa De Genova (@MelissaDeGenova) April 6, 2016
The officially designated Little Italy covers the four blocks north and four blocks south of 1st along Commercial Drive, where 80% of the businesses are either run or owned by Italians.
The issue had previously been delayed by red tape, tied up in the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood’s community planning process. But De Genova’s motion separated the matters and finally made the designation happen – although she joked she had promised to buy all the councillors cannoli for their efforts.
“Vancouver prides itself on its multiculturalism…This change is long overdue,” said De Genova. “It was one of the first motions I brought forward on my first term.”
De Genova says Little Italy banners will soon go up and local businesses are even planning a painted crosswalk in the colours of the Italian flag.
And this change could mean a boost in business too, says De Genova, as visitors to the city become familiar with yet more spots to enjoy some delicious pasta and cannoli of their own.
“It will bring dollars to the neighbourhood with tourism… Now tourists will be able to get in a cab and say, “Take me to Little Italy!”