Cristina’s Tortina Shop: Things that are Excellent

by Larry Hehn on March 4, 2014

cristinas tortina shopWalk into Cristina’s Tortina Shop in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, and right away you’ll notice there’s something special.

It’s not just the lively pink-with-brown-polka-dots décor.

It’s not just the picture frames along the east wall that showcase the staff and their dreams.

It’s not just the stunning selection of scrumptious cupcakes (if you happen to get there before they’re sold out!).

What you’ll notice above all else is the atmosphere.

Because the people on both sides of the counter can’t help but be excited about what owner Mary Iusso and her daughter Cristina helped launch just a few short months ago.

When Cristina was born, doctors were surprised to discover she had Down syndrome. They approached Mary and her husband with a list of things she would not be able to do.

Fortunately, in the true spirit of Things that are Excellent, Cristina’s family instead chose to focus on what she could do.

This led, just a few years later, to the opening of Mary’s brainchild: a cupcakery that “creates equal employment opportunities for people with Down syndrome, Autism and other Special Needs.”

Cristina’s Tortina Shop is so much more than a place that makes and sells outstanding desserts.

It is a place that, as their tagline suggests, showcases capabilities.

There has been quite a buzz about the shop on local media, and the word is spreading. When I visited a couple of Sundays ago, Mary shared that they were getting emails from around the world.

In the early days, they donated leftovers to a local women’s shelter. But these days there aren’t any leftovers. Cristina’s now regularly sells out of cupcakes long before closing.

The cupcakes are incredibly good (the Cioccolata is Cristina’s favorite and mine too!), but you’ll want to make the trip just to see what a difference the right attitude can make.

For more of the story and a quick peek in the shop, enjoy this video:

Yes, Cristina’s Tortina Shop is doing more than just serving up delicious desserts. They’re changing the world, one cupcake at a time.

Click here to link with them on Twitter and Facebook.

What is your favorite cupcake flavor?

Things that are Excellent is a regular feature that celebrates “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable…things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). If you have a feature idea or a guest post that you would like to submit, let us know in the comments below or email your ideas to: excellent@larryhehn.com

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Graham March 6, 2014 at 10:21 am

Hmm, my favourite cupcake falvour? Thats the hardest question you’ve asked in some time, Larry! I’d have to try a bunch of them find out, but I’m certainly leaning away from chocolate (I know, I know – ‘gasp,’ you all say!) I prefer the vanillas and, even more, the butterscotches. Had a cake last week that looked like it was carrot, but had a delicious peanut butter/cream cheese icing of some sort. Now if they make cupcakes like that, all I can say is mmmmmmmm…..

Reply

Larry Hehn March 6, 2014 at 11:13 am

Well Peter, for your butterscotch fix I’d recommend the Caramello (a dulce de leche cupcake topped with dulce de leche buttercream). For your peanut butter icing craving, there’s the PB & Little C (a chocolate cupcake topped with peanut butter buttercream). Of course, there are lots of other flavors too – all incredibly good. Only a 10 minute drive from your house, too!

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Betty Draper March 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Anything chocolate. How good of you to show case this bakery and the heart behind it. What a vision to have come true. Look forward to more interesting stories from the place that serves one cup cake at a time.

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Larry Hehn March 8, 2014 at 7:05 pm

I’m with you about the chocolate, Betty. Cristina’s Cioccolata is incredible. While the shop has only been open a few months, it has really been years in the making. I’m hoping to see more just like it pop up all over the globe.

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Daniel March 10, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Great review on this amazing Cupcake shop! You really captured the heart of this initiative 🙂

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Larry Hehn March 10, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Thank you, Daniel. And I know just the place to go for tea to serve with those cupcakes. Looking forward to featuring your shop next!

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