Little Italy is a quaint and unique older heritage community in Ottawa, focused on Preston Street in the cultural centre of Ottawa's Italian community. Little Italy was initially settled around 1900 by Italian immigrants. In the years following World War II, the second wave of Italian immigrants was joined by communities of Ukrainian and Polish immigrants who moved into the area. In recent years with the integration of European immigrants, the neighbourhood has found itself home to Asian immigrants, primarily from China and Vietnam. Since 1975, in each June the community hosts the Italian Week festival, Ottawa's celebration of Italian culture. Two area streets have been given commemorative Italian street names. Gladstone Avenue is also called Via Marconi, and Preston Street is called Corso Italia.
The residential area consists mainly of large vintage pre-WWII homes, however, major changes are taking place in the south end of the community near Preston Street and Carling Avenue in the form of condo towers. Nearly a dozen projects are either proposed, approved or under construction, including three buildings that will be the city's tallest. These projects were the result of a recent transport service improvement of the O-Train Trillium Line, which is a part of a new community design plan calling for high density near the train station.
Many upscale restaurants line Preston Street and recently there has been the addition of office buildings.
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