Welcome to Little Italy! You are going to love the fantastic array of dining options, amazing central location, interesting history, beautiful art and sculptures, and wonderful community.
Little Italy is Ottawa’s Cetretown West and runs roughly from Somerset Street all the way down to Dow’s Lake, centered on Preston Street.
Little Italy is centrally located and, like all downtown neighbourhoods, is incredibly public transit, walking, and biking friendly. You can hop on the LRT at the Pimisi or Bayview station or catch a bus at any of the many street-level OCtranspo stops.
Little Italy is an example of a “walkable community”, in which walking and biking are excellent ways to commute to work, out to social events, or to run daily errands. The vast majority of what you need is within comfortable walking distance, which in turn helps foster a greater sense of community.
Driving is a bit more of a challenge in this area as parking is not always available, and most likely paid. If you are looking to live in the Centretown area but would like to also own a car, many buildings have parking options, either included your in condo or building fees or at an additional cost. Alternatively, you can also find monthly street, garage, or lot parking, as well from individuals selling or renting their own parking spaces out.
Little Italy consists of approximately 44% detached homes and 56% row homes with some stacked townhomes, apartments, and commercial buildings. The majority of the homes in this area were built between 1900 and 1960. The oldest house in this area was built in 1870.
Schools and Child Care
Little Italy has a few education options within its borders, however, it has plenty of wonderful schools assigned to the area, including 5 public schools, 1 Catholic school, and multiple private schools with both Francophone and bilingual options in the area.
The public schools include:
Heritage Academy (for students with Dyslexia and other language-based exceptionalities)
The Catholic schools include:
Depending on where you live in Little Italy, different schools may be available to you. Contact the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and Ottawa Catholic District School Board for more information.
If you have children that are not old enough to attend school, this area offers plenty of home daycares, playgroups, and parent meet-up options as well.
Parks and Recreation
Little Italy is a beautiful and lively part of Ottawa and is the mecca of Italian cuisine and culture in our city. Take a walk along Preston Street, also known to locals as Corso Italia, and check out the murals of Italian-Canadian life by Karole Marois along the Queensway underpass. On your stroll, spot all 15 quirky sculptures by artist C J Fleury called “Postcards from the Piazzas”, representing the area’s identity through elements of food, sports, labour, tools. Visit “Bambini” right across the street from Caffè Italia Trattoria (loving referred to as “the big bowling pins”) at the corner of Gladstone and Preston, which represents a child’s drawing of a soccer team, is among just a few of the art options on display in this community.
The parks in the area include Plant Recreation Centre, neighbouring Plouffe Park, and Chaudière Park. Just south past Little Italy’s border and Carling Avenue you can find Commissioners Park where the Canadian Tulip Festival is held annually, and just a little further past is Dow’s Lake, the Experimental Farm, and the Arboretum. To the north of Albert Street you are a few minutes away from the Ottawa River and all of the biking and walking trails along it.
Little Italy is THE place in Ottawa for authentic Italian fare, as well as delicious foods from all over the world, predominantly from Asian countries. You can find many of Ottawa’s best restaurants along Preston and it’s adjoining streets, like Atelier, EVOO Greek Kitchen, Green Papaya, Trattoria Caffè Italia, La Roma, Two Six (Ate), and more.
If you want a more laid-back atmosphere, check out any of the local pubs like Pubwells, Pub Italia, Beyond the Pale Brewery and Smokehouse, Heart and Crown, and The Prescott. For a more relaxed, casual Italian food experience, you can’t go wrong with pasta from DreamLand Cafe or Italian sandwiches from Casa Nicastro and Sanguiccio.
Although Preston Street is predominantly popular due to the amazing restaurants, they also have great shops like Preston Hardware and Plant & Curio, to name a few. You can also check out the local comedic talent at Absolute Comedy, catch a theatre production at The Gladstone Theatre, and experience the weird and wonderful world of C4 wrestling at St. Anthony’s.
Little Italy is a wonderful community with a celebrated and diverse history. Originally settled by Italian immigrants in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, Little Italy received more residents from Ukraine and Poland during and after World War II, and from Vietnam and China in more recent years.
The most famous historical landmark in this community is St. Athony of Pauda Catholic Church. Built in 1913 and named after the saint of miracles, this church has been the community hub ever since.
Although named “Little Italy”, this community considers itself a “global village” and includes and honors those from other countries and their cultures that have settled in the area. St. Anthony’s School, originally known as Dante’s Academy, has always served a large immigrant population, understands the importance of supporting its diverse community, and offers language lessons in Vietnamese, Mandarin and more.
Today, Little Italy is a vibrant cultural melting pot known for its fresh and mouth-waterig cuisine options, friendly customer service, and amazing festivals, including Italian Week. This community’s location makes it an excellent choice for those looking for an urban lifestyle in a community that truly cares for its neighbours.
This is a great example of a walkable neighbourhood where you do not need to leave your community for much. People from all ages, places, backgrounds and income levels live in harmony in this community.
Groups and Publications