Ottawa’s Little Italy is more than a local hub for authentic Italian food and hospitality. It’s also a diverse dining and shopping district filled with culinary offerings from Greece, India, and France, as well as traditional Canadian fare. The area’s mix of architecture, art, graffiti, and cuisine draws foodies and culture vultures alike.The Basics
Originally established in the early 1900s by Italian immigrants, this vibrant corner of Ottawa has stayed true to its roots while expanding to include diverse communities. Known among locals as Corso Italia, the neighborhood welcomes visitors with its red and white archway topped with a “Little Italy” sign. For locals and visitors alike, exploring Little Italy is all about enjoying handmade gelato, eating wood-oven–fired pizza, soaking up sun and craft beers on patios in the summertime, and indulging in Ottawa’s independent coffee scene and boutique cocktail bars. Make your way past the shops, bars, restaurants, and cafés along Preston Street and see the public art, sculptures, and a mural paying homage to the area painted on the walls of an underpass.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Little Italy is a must for all first-time visitors to Ottawa—especially those who like to eat.
- The neighborhood is cyclist-friendly and linked to picturesque cycling paths along the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal.
- Check ahead for events, street parties, and performances in neighborhood comedy clubs and theaters.
- Remember to dress for the weather: summer in Ottawa can be very hot and humid, and winter can bring snow and frigid temperatures.
- Many of the establishments in Little Italy are accessible to wheelchair users.
The heart of Little Italy is along Preston Street between Carling Avenue and Albert Street. It is centrally located near other notable Ottawa sights, such as Dow’s Lake and the Canadian War Museum. The area is accessible from downtown by public transit, bicycle, walking, or taxi. Paid parking and limited street parking are available. When to Get There
While restaurants, cafés and shops operate all year, warmer months allow travelers to experience the patios, art, and the open-air feel of Corso Italia as well various festivals, music events, and street parties. The Italian Week Festival, held every June, includes live music, races, parades, and—of course—food. During winter, the Winterlude Festival draws crowds and the Rideau Canal is open for skating.