For the three decades that followed the Second World War, Commercial Drive had a distinctive Italian flavour to it. Today, a local renaissance is shaping Vancouver’s Little Italy, with a new generation of businesses offering authentic Italian cultural and culinary traditions with modern flair.
Sunday June 8 is Italian Day on the Drive. The theme for this year is “Made in Italy”, which conjures up images not only of la dolce vita but of fine leather goods, olive oils, artisanship married with design.
Having laid claim to the World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship title in 2011, the East Van Bike Polo Club is at the centre of one of the strongest polo communities in North America and is at the apex of one of the fastest growing urban sports worldwide.
Mulberry jam from Damascus. Harissa from Tunisia. Rosewater from Lebanon. Halloumi cheese from Cyprus. These are but a few of the myriad exotic delicacies that populate the shelves of Mediterranean Specialty Foods on Commercial Drive.
Frank Murdocco opened the doors of his Café Calabria in the early 1970s. It was one of several private men’s clubs on Commercial Drive that was dedicated to the region of origin of its owner and, of course, its patrons. It did not take long for Frank to get a bit restless with the situation, though, and true to his methods and to himself, he went in a different direction.