People come into our lives, go through our lives, and then there are others who stay in our lives. Each has something to offer and we are better for being the recipient of this. When we opened the store we tried to think of a slogan which would best describe the “beautiful chocolates” as yes “beauty” is something that we first are drawn to when we meet someone ..but it is the “inner beauty” that is lasting, and the poem below that reflects this. And it was then that we decided to choose a “beautiful person” each year so that you dear readers can share in what “true beauty” is all about. Here is the poem:

"Beautiful People" is more than a skin deep description. The most "beautiful people" I have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.

(It has been many years since we have chosen “a person of the year” but the wait has definitely been worth it)

Our pick
“Beautiful Person” for 2014
Mary Lou Iacono ..and her "Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides” mission ..to assist “Canadians with a medical or physical disability” by providing them Dog Guides at no cost.

In these turbulent times sadly too many are concerned only with themselves. But there are dedicated and wonderful people out there who want to give back in any way possible. Mary Lou Iacono is one of these people. She is with the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides where she is a caring, loving foster mom to her fifth dog now and his name is Pascal. I feel very fortunate to have had Mary Lou come into my life. Below is a brief background on what the Lions Foundation does and believes in.
Mary Lou IaconoMary Lou Iacono with guide dog
Here is a few words from Mary Lou: "Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides” mission is to assist Canadians with a medical or physical disability by providing them Dog Guides at no cost. Corporations, donors, individuals, volunteers, foster families and staff contribute to the success of the Dog Guide programs of which there are six - Canine Vision Dog Guides, Hearing Ear Dog Guides, Service Dog Guides, Seizure Response Dog Guides, Autism Assistance Dog Guides and Diabetic Alert Dog Guides. With their help and generosity, the $25,000 it costs to raise and train each dog is covered so that the dogs are accessible to those who need them most. I am a volunteer foster mom with this wonderful organization and am currently raising my fifth foster puppy, Pascal. My job as a foster mom is to raise,train and prepare these puppies for their official training when they are recalled at around l0 months to a year old. A lot goes into this -- I have to expose the puppy to as manysituations as possible that they may encounter as a certified working dog. Although it is difficult when they leave me for formal training, it is extremely rewarding to meet the person they are matched with and see firsthand how their lives are forever changed for the better. I cannot put into words how gratifying this whole experience of fostering for Dog Guides has been for me -- it truly is the most meaningful thing I have ever done in my life. I encourage everyone out there to volunteer in some capacity and give back --there is no better feeling than to help someone! I plan to continue fostering puppies for Dog Guides for many years to come.

If you want to learn more about Dog Guides Canada, please visit them at www.dogguides.com And to all this I can only add: spread the word about wonderful people such as Mary Lou and the Canada Dog Guides.

Our pick
“Beautiful Person” for 2007
Louise Russo ..survivor of violent crime at its worst.

She not only forgave her attacker, but also rose to the challenge of educating youth that "violence is not the answer"
It is the stuff that great heroes are made of!
Above: Ingrid on her "second BiograhTV episode," this one "Changing Lives" with Louise Russo.
In 2004, Louise was an innocent victim of gun violence. Caught in the cross fire, she was paralyzed from the chest down, and lost the use of both legs. A married mother of three, including a child with severe disabilities who requires assistance in every aspect of her life, (As Louise was shot this child was waiting for her mom in the car!) Louise is determined to stay positive and not be consumed by the obstacles she faces. Louise founded W.A.V.E. (Walk Against Violence Everywhere) in 2005 and works to encourage youth to be respectful, responsible and to take leadership roles in keeping their schools and communities safe. Louise is also an advocate for special needs individuals and serves on the accessibility committee with the Hon. David Onley. She is a member of the Justice Stakeholder Summit and The Ontario Bar Association, which develop recommendations on how to improve accessibility to Ontario’s legal system. Louise wants to inspire others, especially young people, to make good choices early in life.

In 2009 Louise is having a big fundraise ..and she could use help from all of us.

Our pick
“Beautiful Person” for 2006
Jane Goodall, founder of the Jan Goodall Institute ..and a UN Messenger of Peace

...who reflected for me a serenity and kindness rarely seen.
The world for sure would be a better place if we had more Jane Goodalls!
I was so privileged to have been in her presence.

Fundraiser for Jane Goodall ..who presented her observations on primates — that suggested to me a glimpse of how humanity must have been like in its gentle innocence long long ago. Did you know that if the mother of a baby chimp dies then the baby will be adopted by a close relative .. and if none, then total strangers will adopt it as their own?

Our pick
“Beautiful Person” for 2005
Some take a “dream” and make something special out of it. Randal and Elisabeth Linton took the reality of their daughter’s illness and tried to do something about the disease. Randal and Elisabeth are about as “Beautiful People” as you can get, and we were so touched with what they have done with their Sanfillippo Children’s Research Foundation.
We were proud to be a sponsor at
The Sanfilippo Children's Research Foundation Gala.
It was an emotionally-driven evening where tears came easily for everyone.
Here Ingrid with Elise, who’s parents formed this foundation.
It is a remarkable story of family, faith, and self-sacrifice.
Instead of succumbing, Elisa’s parents chose to launch the foundation, where 98% of money raised goes to support research.


Our pick
“Beautiful Person” for 2004
THOSE WHO LIVE LIFE TO ITS FULLEST... under difficult circumstances

It is about “young and old with difficulties” determined to live life to its fullest,
pushing beyond all boundaries. The picture says it all.
The only thing missing are tears of pride of those who look on.

click to enlarge

And if you have children do suggest to them to volunteer for needy causes, as it's positive things like this that shape and define a life in a young person. What else is life about if you cannot help those in “true” need?
"No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit " . . . Helen Keller (deaf-blind . . a role model by every measure.)

Our pick
“Beautiful Person” for 2003

Medical professionals around the world who put their duty to "SERVE OTHERS"
above personal concerns during the SARS outbreak
Above Leo Steven, CEO and President of Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre presides over SARS war room.

Medical professionals AROUND THE WORLD put their duty to "SERVE OTHERS" above personal concerns during the SARS outbreak. And this dedication of “all frontline physicians and healthcare workers” is something we have to be thankful for. Throughout the epidemic they worked around the clock in many cases, even when so many things were unknown about the disease. For the first time most faced the prospect of becoming infected themselves, and even worse faced the prospect of passing SARS on to their families. And they still performed their jobs recognizing they had a duty to their patients. And yes, some did develop SARS and some died.

SARS took on a personal course at our boutique when many hospital workers as well as relatives of patients came to shop, and we got to know much of the personal side of their stories. Moreover, Leo Steven, in above, is my brother-in-law and I saw the personal toll it took on him.
Ingrid Läderach Steven

Our pick
“Beautiful Person” for 2002

We salute the volunteer-heroes at Camp Oochigeas (for children with cancer) as our
“Beautiful People for 2002”
Camp Oochigeas is a summer camp for “children aged six to sixteen” who come to have a little fun in the sun. . .under some very difficult situations.

When we visited the camp (both our daughters were volunteer counselors) we were ready for some tear-jerking experiences. But what we saw was kids doing what all kids loves to do, and that's having lots of fun. In fact, it was PARTY TIME much of the time, with lots excitement and activities. . . living one day at a time. And the counselors who helped make it all happen, who gave so much of themselves, were young volunteers who just wanted to do their share to make this world a little better place for the campers, all of whom have cancer.And yes, there were sad moments we witnessed. But when we left we had tears in our eyes not out of sadness but for pride in our daughters who helped, and pride in all the volunteer counselors — who could have spent their summer doing other things, maybe selfish things, perhaps even bitching that this country does not do enough for kids to keep them busy. And after we both wiped away our tears, we agreed that by all measures these counselors were truly Beautiful People!
To the right is a picture of our daughter, Jaclyn (with guitar), with other counselors in her group, doing their silly best to distract campers from pains and sorrows, and have them enjoy a little normal life at a campsite. If you have children do suggest to them to volunteer for needy causes, as it's positive things like this that shape and define a life in a young person. The camp volunteers also join in activities throughout the year, including visiting their campers at hospitals.The camp website is: www.ooch.org

Ingrid Läderach Steven

Our pick
“Beautiful Person” for 2001

At a time when true heroes were in short supply they gave the world lots of heroes to look up to.

Who would have guessed that under that brassy New York shell there is a heart of gold? . . our spirits have been elevated because of these heroes.

...On September 11, as the World Trade Centre tragedy unfolded, the store sat empty all morning until Läderach-Steven decided to close. Just then, the customers descended. They said: `We had to come. We had to get out and have a fix.` It`s almost like this place is a sanctuary.` `` ......Jennifer Bain, Food Editor, Toronto Star, February 13, 2002.

Our pick
“Beautiful Person” for 2000
Dr. Euclid J. Herie, CM, MSW, LLD
President and CEO of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) 1983 - 2001

Here is a person who cannot see, yet he knows the name of every truffle in our showcase. And he will tell you on his next visit any mistake you made on his choice of truffles during his last visit.

He is a happy and beautiful person. I tell him: "You may not see but you have more vision than most people." He also has an unbelievable sharp humour, and has a very active life - such as going on a horse-back riding in the B.C. mountains and canoeing.

Dr. Herie brings cheer and sunshine every single time he enters our boutique. He sets an example to all of us to "LIVE LIFE TO ITS FULLEST!"

Dr. Herie's is a true champion of the world's visually impaired. He is especially admired for his passion to instil "independence and respect" for the blind. His leadership led the CNIB to win the inaugural SAP/Stevie Wonder Award for Role Model Organization of the Year in 1998. In 1996 Dr. Herie was also elected president of the World Blind Union for a four-year term. In this capacity, he represented more than 150 million people who are blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind, from 160 countries.

In a world of so many "Give me!" people around us, especially those blessed with youth and health who insist on seeing their cup-of-life as "half empty" and who nauseatingly demand their right to handouts and media attention, it is refreshing to find someone who gives so much of himself to help others — and under so difficult circumstances at that.

Dr. Euclid J. Herie back at CNIB in 2005 to launch his book “Journey to Independence: Blindness– The Canadian Story”
Dr. Herie, you are truly a "Beautiful Person," and a Canadian treasure, and a powerful example for the world!

Ingrid Läderach Steven

Here is a link to "VoicePrint Broadcasting for the visually impairment," that we suggest you visit: http://www.voiceprint.ca

The real beautiful people
You can't see with your eyes.
You have to learn how to
Look with your heart.

  • The perception of beauty is an act of understanding something fully. To a mature mind everything is beautiful

  • "Beautiful People" are all around. They are everywhere you look. And they can be in the mirror looking back at you.

  • Beautiful People: those who have fallen to pieces. . . those who have known grief . . . picked themselves up. . . and are better for it when they come out the other side. (Our biggest enemy as individuals and families is, all too often, simply "self-destruction.")

  • "Ugliness can be as much a factor of how we see ourselves as it is of how others see us"... quote from the website of the UGLY PEOPLE'S CLUB, Italy


" . . .I appreciate your kind and thoughtfully gesture. Please accept my best wishes to you and yours for good health and much happiness. . ." Aline Chrétien.... 24 Sussex, Ottawa July 4, 2002

Some of our friendly staff

We offer old-fashioned service, even after Halloween

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