It’s winter in Canada and the bitterly cold Arctic temperatures have descended on us. Needless to say, indoor activities are suddenly very attractive, so I went in search of something different to do that would minimize exposure to the flesh-freezing winds.
I’m not a museum person – my attention span is shorter than a 2 year old’s – but Toronto has many excellent museums, and in the spirit of doing 52 new things this year, I started looking at the possibilities. I found it in the form of the Bata Shoe Museum.
I LOVE shoes. I decided this would be a perfect way to spend a frigid January afternoon.
As a bit of background, The Bata Shoe Company originated in 1894 in what is now the Czech Republic. It is still today a family-owned business with global headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, but for 40 years – from 1964 to 2004 – their international headquarters was located in Toronto, Canada under the leadership of the founder’s son, Thomas Bata.
Thomas Bata’s wife, Sonja, began collecting interesting footware from around the world in the 1940s and her growing collection was displayed at the head office in Toronto. In 1979, a charitable foundation was created by the Bata family to conduct international research on the history and construction of footwear in different cultures. In 1995, the current museum was opened to the public.
The lighting and display cases in the museum made photography a real challenge, but that didn’t stop me from taking dozens of photos – most of them truly awful.
I had thought this visit would be a fluffy, girly kind of thing to do … but I was surprised. There was a lot of interesting background information on the evolution of both shoes and fashion in general, but honestly there was also an equal amount of stuff that made my eyes glaze over. My inner 2-year-old wasn’t prepared to give me a complete pass for the day.
There were shoes from ballet slippers to an Apollo space boot on loan from the Smithsonian Institute. I absolutely love the fact they were displayed side-by-side.
With intricate footware from the Far East …..
…to elaborately decorated Native American boots.
The best part however, was finding a new shoe calendar for 2015. I introduced my love of shoes in an earlier post and I’m looking forward to another year of fantasizing about kick-ass shoes.