Little Italy is one of Ottawa's most vibrant communities. Situated just west of Centretown, it is the cultural centre of Ottawa's Italian community. Its borders are Albert Street to the north, Carling to its south, Bronson Avenue to the east, and the O-Train tracks designating the western border.
There is an intersection with Chinatown along Somerset Street, which creates an interestingly diverse few blocks of restaurants, pubs, and homes.
Originally settled in 1900 by Italian immigrants, it has become a more diverse community in the years following the Second World War. Preston Street, or 'Corso Italia' is the main commercial district, and as home to most of the small businesses and Italian restaurants, is synonymous with 'Little Italy'.
Since 1974, Preston and its side streets are closed to traffic for a week each June for the Italian Week festival. Large mental arches lit in the colors of the Italian flag were built in 2002 to attract visitors south fr0m the Dows Lake area into the Preston street business district.
The section of Gladstone Avenue that intersects Little Italy is commemoratively named Via Marconi, and is host to several shops and services. The St. Anthony of Padua Church was built in 1913 and is a major landmark in the neighbourhood.
Plenty of park land exists in and around the community, mainly Dows Lake and the NCC trail system supporting it. Nestled between Carling Avenue and Hwy 417 to the north, access to the rest of the city is easy; OC Transpo is also well established here, with routes 3 and 316 stopping nearby. The main downtown station is also a short distance away.