Nonna’s Shopping List Launched Alongside Derkz Via Italia Mural Unveiling

Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island launched the Nonna’s Shopping List today, a new digital passport program that provides both locals and visitors with the opportunity to explore the culture of Via Italia, Windsor’s Little Italy district. The complimentary digital pass is available online and once registered users can receive VIP savings, prizes and Nonna-approved selections at participating businesses. From curated Italian housewares, to fine dining, authentic coffee and mouth-watering sweets, the Nonna’s Shopping List has something for everyone. The program is a trail that highlights various businesses, as well as historical points of interest within the district.

“The Nonna’s Shopping List passport program showcases what partnerships are all about – from creation to funding to execution, we have been able to successfully launch a digital experience which celebrates the unique and diverse culture, heritage and cuisine of one of the most recognized districts within the Windsor area” said Gordon Orr, CEO Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island. “The opportunity for both locals and visitors to explore restaurants, boutique shops and cultural landmarks bodes well for the further development of our destination.”

The digital passport is easy to use and requires no downloads to access. Once users have checked-in on their smartphone, they can take a self-guided tour of the district while stopping at 16 businesses along the way. Partner locations also provide “Nonna’s suggestions” on what to purchase from each, alongside exclusive offers for participants. When a user has made a purchase at 8 different participating locations they have the chance to receive a limited edition Nonna’s Shopping List apron & wooden spoon as official keepsakes, and be entered in to win a $500 Via Italia Staycation.

By collaborating with the Via Italia BIA and partnering with 16 businesses in the district, the program provides the opportunity to learn about and experience the culture, history & diversity along Erie Street, the main commercial corridor of Windsor’s Little Italy. The program also has the capability to increase off-season offerings that motivate travel, extend stays, and enhance tourism experiences in the Windsor Essex area.

Beyond these community partnerships, the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation (Ontario’s Southwest) and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, through the Canadian Experiences Fund, played an integral role in bringing this program to fruition.

In addition to the Nonna’s Shopping List launch, Tourism Windsor Essex also held the official unveiling of a mural on the walls of the Erie Street Community garden located at 1015 Erie Street East. The mural’s colour scheme reflects the Italian flag and an aspect of the Italian homeland featuring a village and vineyard. The portraits of the Nonna and granddaughter present connecting the old with the new. Created by artist David Derkatz (DERKZ), a multidisciplinary artist from Windsor who specializes in large exterior murals using spray-paint.

“Windsor Essex has some of the best food in all of Canada, and Via Italia has long been a cherished culinary and shopping destination of our region,” says Irek Kusmierczyk, MP Windsor-Tecumseh. “The Canadian Experiences Fund supports communities like ours, encouraging us to celebrate our rich culture, while improving tourism and experiences. I would like to recognize Tourism Windsor Essex for their continued hard work and dedication showcasing our region on a national stage creating innovative tourism experiences and highlighting the gem that is Windsor Essex. I hope all will join me in taking advantage of the self guided trail and experiencing one of our local culinary destinations in this new innovative way!”

“As one of Canada’s most diverse and multicultural communities, Windsor has much to offer residents and visitors,” exclaimed Mayor Drew Dilkens, City of Windsor. “Ours is a strong city, with strong cultural roots – which are crucial to creating a genuine sense of place. With the Launch of Nonna’s Trail, we are pleased to recognize a district that has been going strong for over 35 years. Windsor’s Via Italia has much to be proud of, and this program enables participants to appreciate all that is in their own backyard. The platform being used for this initiative provides ease-of-use as participants explore all Erie Street has to offer.”

“The Via Italia BIA is thrilled to have partnered with Tourism Windsor Essex for this new marketing opportunity,” stated Filip Rocca, President Via Italia Business Improvement Association and Owner of Mezzo Ristorante. “We’re confident that people will discover, or re-discover all that Via Italia has to offer by way of this promotion. We have some amazing new businesses that have moved in alongside our popular and cherished traditional institutions. We think you’ll have some terrific experiences while shopping Nonna’s Trail and we can hardly wait to welcome you!”

Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island is the official Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for the regional tourism industry that is dedicated to promoting and selling Windsor, Essex and Pelee Island as a remarkable destination for tourist, convention goers and business travelers. As a tourism industry collaborative, Tourism Windsor Essex is committed to enhancing the region’s economy and quality of life.

The Nonna’s Shopping List program acts as a further catalyst in Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island’s marketing of Windsor Essex as a top culinary destination, complementing their recently launched Windsor Pizza Club, and their award-winning Barrels Bottles & Brews Trail, the EPIC Wineries Tasting Pass and Coffee Culture trail. For more information on and to access the Nonna’s Shopping List passport program, visit