Metro / Lucy Haines Teresa Spinelli, owner of the Italian Centre Shop on 96 St., does brisk business every day in Italian specialty foods: meats, cheeses, olives and breads. Her business will be on display at this weekend's cultural festival.

A whole city block from 99 St. at 107 Ave. is being shut down and readied for Chinatown’s day to shine at this weekend’s East Meets West Festival.

Edmonton’s Chinatown, modest in size compared to those of other major cities, is still vibrant and involved, according to Rattan Lawrence, executive director of the Chinatown Little Italy Business Association.

Rattan points to the full day of festivities as a centennial celebration of art, culture, food and entertainment, even Chinese opera.  A free stage runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday with Lion Dance, music, food and craft vendors.

“It was the brainchild of the McCauley revitalization effort to bring our two areas together,” said Lawrence.

Sunday is Little Italy’s turn to shine, and Giobanni Caboto Park on 95 St. will be bustling from 12 to 9 p.m. with music, song and, of course, food.

Teresa Spinelli, owner of the Italian Centre Shop, knows well the heritage of Little Italy, as her father was one of the original Italian immigrants to this part of the city.  Spinelli has documented the city’s  days of illegal wine-storage through the mural now adorning the side of her specialty shop.

The heart of Italian culture is also found at Santa Marie Goretti  Church, which sits in the shadow of Commonwealth Stadium and serves the city’s entire Italian Catholic population.

Wander the area on Sunday and see what brings Edmontonians to this cultural enclave every weekend, festival or not.

East end boy meets west end girl

  • Bustling Chinatown has over 250 businesses between 97 and 101 Streets.  In Little Italy, a concentration of shops, cafes and parks runs along 95 and 96 Streets.
  • 96 Street is known as church street with its concentration of buildings of many faiths.  Houses of worship from Catholic and Pentecostal to Buddhist crowd the street.

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