Ottawa Tourism

Little Italy

Just west of Chinatown, Ottawa’s Little Italy offers more than just your favourite pasta or gelato – it’s a multi-ethnic neighbourhood centred around Preston Street.

History

Italian immigrants originally settled the area around 1900 and founded the St. Anthony of Padua Church in 1913 which has been a community hub ever since. A second wave of immigrants from Italy and elsewhere arrived following World War II, deepening the neighbourhood’s multi-ethnic identity.

Dining & shopping

As expected, Little Italy is the mecca for authentic Italian food in Ottawa. But Greek, Indian and Asian flavours, plus other unique culinary specialties, have made this quaint area a fully rounded foodie destination. Try Bridgehead Roastery’s coffee, Gelatini’s authentic gelato, MēNa’s modern French cuisine, Atelier’s molecular gastronomy and even Flapjacks’ quirky, Canadian theme. Choose a brew (or a few) from the famous “beer bible” at Pub Italia – a funky pub co-owned by an Italo-Irish couple, or swing by Two Six {Ate} for delicious small plates and drinks. Delizioso!

For the ultimate combination, visit the funky vintage consignment bar called Ward 14 for drinks, food and shopping. Or shop for ladies’ luxury contemporary fashion at Vincent.

Sights

Take an easy stroll along Preston Street – known to locals as Corso Italia – and you’ll be immersed in the area’s heritage. Murals on the underpass walls and quirky sculptures along the sidewalks all represent aspects of the neighbourhood’s history and residents.

If you follow Preston Street south just beyond Carling Avenue, you’ll reach bucolic Dows Lake on the Rideau Canal. Pathways run in all directions and the pavilion is a great place to grab a bite or rent a self-powered boat to explore the UNESCO World Heritage waterway!

Events

Ottawa’s Italian Week Festival has been celebrated every year since 1975. The June event includes live music, a cycling race, a vintage car parade, Ferrari Festival and more.

Little Italy features live entertainment also all year-long as well. The Gladstone hosts great theatre performances and Absolute Comedy attracts some of the best comedians on the circuit.