Celebrate All Things Italy During Italian Week 2023
Ottawa’s Italian community is coming together to celebrate the joys of food, family, and fun, and everyone is invited.
From June 8th to June 18th, the 49th annual Italian Week Ottawa invites everyone who is Italian and all those who wish they were to join the festivities with new and exciting programming featuring the best of Italian culture in the capital. Italian Week is like “going to Nonna’s house for dinner. It feels like coming home.”
Italian culture is traditionally generous and boisterous but warm, proud, and family-focused. Italian Week strives to encapsulate every key aspect of Italian culture by showcasing Italian entertainment, food, art, and children’s activities.
Organizers of the Italian Week launch, held at the National Arts Centre, announced a stellar lineup of familiar and brand-new events.
To celebrate art is to celebrate culture, and each year, Italian Week hosts a visual arts competition open to all artists in the region. The best painting that reflects this year‘s theme of Italian landscapes will win a $1000 cash prize and will be featured on the cover of the 2023 Italian Week program.
Speaking of programming, this year’s festival includes a strong focus on Italian entertainment and music. Italian Canadian and Italian artists such as Marco Calliari, Andrea Ramolo, Joe Cacchione, and DJ Jas Nasty are among those performing on Preston Street, with Opera concerts, street performances, and stand-up comedy shows offering even more entertainment throughout the week-long festival.
A brand-new event designed for Ottawa’s party set will transform the Sala San Marco Event Centre into an Italian Discoteca on June 16, starting at 10:00 p.m.
The week of all things Italian kicks off on June 8th with the traditional Flag Raising Ceremony at Ottawa City Hall. The opening weekend schedule is packed with free events for all ages, including the long-adored kids’ zone that allows kids to run around as mom and dad enjoy some food in Little Italy.
Specialized events begin on Monday, June 12th, with both free and ticketed classes, performances, and activities. The Ottawa Public Library will host various informative events throughout the week, such as Mal’occhio 101, where guests can learn the story behind the Italian evil eye.
A highlight of this year’s Italian Week programming is three culinary masterclasses that will dive into the history and importance of Italian cheeses, the role of olive oil and balsamic vinegar in great cooking, and the beautiful flavours of Italian wines. True connoisseurs will lead the 90-minute classes, but enrollment is capped at 75, so be sure to get your ticket soon. Tickets are $54.17 per class. Click here to register.
Special events for children and families include a children’s Italian Stamp Art workshop, an art exhibition at Orange Art Gallery, an Italian Chamber Music show featuring the Ironwood quartet, a film screening of Legacy at the Bytowne Cinema, and more.
The week will wrap up with Picnic All’Italia on June 17th. The festival welcomes families and friends to enjoy a delicious Italian picnic box lunch at Tremblay Park for just $15. Click here to get your tickets. On the final day, June 18th, Preston Street will host the famous Criterium Bike Race. The street will turn into a thrilling racecourse, with events for all ages and skill levels.
The Ottawa Italian Festival started in 1975 under the leadership of St. Anthony’s Church and the University of Ottawa’s Languages Department as a week of Italian radio programming with small satellite events throughout the area. By 1977, the festival was incorporated and has become an important symbol of Ottawa’s Italian community and collective identity.