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Brampton cupcake shop bakes to advocate for people with Down syndrome

Brampton cupcake shop bakes to advocate for people with Down syndrome
WATCH ABOVE: Cristina’s Tortina Shop is no ordinary bakery. Aside from the homemade cupcakes, Cristina’s was created out of a mother’s love for her daughter. Susan Hay has the story.

Cristina’s Tortina Shop in Brampton is no ordinary bakery. Aside from cupcakes, specialty cakes and cookies, Cristina’s was created out of a mother’s love for her daughter.

“Cristina inspired us to do this,” said Mary Iusso, founder of the shop.

The Brampton bakery opened seven years ago and today at age 10, Cristina Iusso is working alongside her proud mom after school or on weekends in all areas of the business.

“Anybody with Down syndrome has hopes and dreams and we need to ask them what they want to do and what do they want to inspire to be. And If it happens to be a baker in a cupcake shop, great,” Iusso said.

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Eleven different flavours of cupcakes are baked from scratch each day.

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“I have three staff, two have Down syndrome, one is on the spectrum and everybody has an important job and everybody loves what they do,” said Iusso.

“They are baking in the kitchen, they’re serving customers, and at the end of the day, we all tidy up together.”

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Employees develop a sense of accomplishment and confidence in their abilities which they get to showcase on a regular basis to their many customers.

“When Cristina was born, I was told have no expectations of your daughter. Don’t expect her to be a doctor or a lawyer and Cristina was less than 24 hours old, “ recalled Iusso.

“I thought, “you got to be kidding me. Why doesn’t the world expect anything of her?” I knew then I had to do something where people come into the shop, have their own experiences and in the same breath I get to teach them and talk to them about Down syndrome.”