So Many Shoes!

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With intricate footware from the Far East …..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

…to elaborately decorated Native American boots.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in 52 New Things, Random Stuff and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to So Many Shoes!

  1. Sartenada says:

    I love this kind of special museum! For example in Finland we have unique Coffee Cup Museum.

    Happy blogging!

    Like

  2. Jean says:

    Toronto is very lucky to have this showstopper museum. I’ve been to it 3 times…each times with a visitor/friend.

    Like

  3. I am still paying for the younger days I spent in shoes that resembled some of the more tortuous versions at the Bata Museum…did they have an orthotics friendly section?? Great post.

    Like

  4. Heyjude says:

    How fascinating – a shoe museum! I am going to love travelling with you this year if you take us to places like this. I am not a ‘shoe person’ but ❤ the museum pieces – those from the Far East look impossible to wear, or at least walk in! But oh, how I'd love those Native American boots – absolutely gorgeous AND flat too 😀

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Oh Jude, then you would have loved the entire section on Native American footwear. There were numerous examples of boots from different tribes with elaborate embroidery and beading – all of them beautiful.

      I think it would be a great place to visit whether you are a shoe person or not 🙂 Glad you liked it!

      Like

  5. I guess they also had some of those shoes worn by Chinese women with bound feet? Those totally freak me out! There’s nobody left alive today, I believe, who’s had that done to them, thank god…

    Like

  6. You just made my day! Being a shoe whore myself, I loved this post. Those pics are great, and I love the idea of a whole museum just for my feet… What a great place 🙂

    Like

  7. jannatwrites says:

    I like shoes, but my desire for fashion has waned over the years. Now, I’m more for comfort, but I do have some standards 🙂 I like the red boots in one of the early photos- as long as I didn’t have to wear the dress that I imagine would go with them. Things cinched around my waist- aack!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      aaack, indeed! Can you imagine wearing one of those corsets that clinch the waist to 20 or less inches? Good grief, no wonder women were always fainting … they couldn’t breathe!

      Like

  8. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I am not a big “shoe person”, but I love the museum exhibit pics. Fabulous! 😀

    Like

  9. Mrs. P says:

    Sounds like an interesting trip…I think I’d like it more for the historical aspect, not much of a shoe person, though I know many who are. Enjoyed your link to the first shoe post. Sad, someone who appreciates shoes as much as you did wasn’t given the feet to enjoy them.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I KNOW!! … Nature’s cruel joke! 🙂
      Thankfully I’m now at an age where I no longer feel the need to try and wedge my flippers into a stylish pair of stilettos. I can enjoy them simply as the works of art they are 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. NancyTex says:

    I’m already feeling anxiety over the number of shoes I need to pack when we move. My weakness. 🙂

    Like

  11. sinewavelife says:

    Fascinating post and wonderful photos!

    Like

  12. I’ve heard of the Bata museum but have never been. What a marvelous post and interesting day for you. I always assumed the family was Canadian as well. Love this tour and look forward to your new discoveries / new things the rest of the year. ❤ ❤

    Like

  13. LB says:

    So many would have just stayed home, wrapped up in blankets, but you got out there, and kept to your 52 new things. Excellent!
    And what a fascinating place. Any Firefighting boots in that museum (asks the former firefighter)?

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      No, they didn’t. Now that you mention it, it does seem like a glaring omission.

      They did however have a pair of autographed shoes by Pierce Brosnan from his 007 days. Yeah – random, I know – but I’ve been a Pierce Brosnan fan since Remington Steele in the 1980s 😉

      Like

  14. I’ll get you into that VMFA yet, my pretty! COL! This was an awesome post, Joanne! I am mad about shoes AND museums! I’m with M-R, the mocassins are to die for. I’m curious, were there any Chinese shoes for the foot-bound?

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      If you like shoes and museums, then this is a great place for you to visit!!
      A Fine Arts museum? … like an art gallery? They are the worst kind of museum for me! I was nearly comatose going through the Louvre :/

      … and yes, there was a section on foot-binding and the shoes that were worn. I didn’t realize that foot-binding wasn’t banned until the early 1900s. I look at those tiny misshaped shoes and wonder how on earth they could walk.

      I also didn’t know that the slender little shoes from long ago weren’t because women had slender little feet. European women also ‘bound’ their feet to get them into their shoes. I can’t remember when cobblers started to make shoes specifically for left vs right feet … something we just take for granted!!

      Like

      • The elegant Chinese lady did not walk. She literally was carried about the majority of the day by her servants or hobbled very slowly to her destination. It was a sign of the upper-class to have the lotus foot which I’m sure you know. And, Yes, I just saw that on Antiques Roadshow a while back when somebody brought in shoes from the Revolutionary Era and they were not left vs. right. I had no idea!!! Re: art museums….if I gave you scintillating back stories on the artists would that make a difference? Probably not……sigh.

        Like

  15. bulldog says:

    Joanne.. I had a good laugh at this post… I bet you are looking forward to that outdoor experience again… I’m afraid a museum would not have my attention for 2 min. …

    Like

  16. beeblu says:

    Oh, I love this. Those Far East “shoes” look absolutely lethal!

    Like

  17. la_lasciata says:

    Terrific post, Joanne ! – I think my favourites have to be those superb Indian moccasin boots: such incredibly detailed and loving work !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sue Slaght says:

    Apollo space boots? Let’s see you run in a pair of those. 🙂

    Like

  19. Pixie says:

    Hi Joanne,
    I heard something about using manual settings with your ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, you know…that techie stuff… if you want good quality museum photos. I say it that way because I haven’t gotten enough experience with photography yet to understand that stuff at all…that said, I like the pictures you shared here today. Those red “granny boots” on the exhibit sign are gorgeous, cool calendar too! 😉

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Admittedly, I’m struggling with the techie stuff. The photos I take experimenting with the manual settings are still dismal failures. I appear to be having problems negotiating the learning curve :/

      Liked by 2 people

      • Pixie says:

        I found an awesome site called: Photographers on youtube, It has three short vids about using the manual settings on the camera I have. I Googled my camera to find it. I’m not sure if he has tutorials for your camera but I bet someone does. No worries though, you’ve always shared beautiful photos 😉

        Like

        • joannesisco says:

          Thanks Pixie!! I’ll check it out!

          I did take a course offered by the camera store where I bought my camera. It was great and I learned a lot about my camera … but the nuances of the manual settings under different conditions still escapes me.

          Liked by 1 person

  20. I was going to make a comment about school shoes but Annie beat me to it. (But I wore Clarks – I had (have) skinny feet.) Can’t say a shoe museum would be top of my go to list (I’m more of a sneakers girl) but I did like the space boot. Well done on your new thing. Oh, the places you’ll take us, eh?

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I was rather impressed with the space boot too. Years ago we visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington. My husband and sons were in their glory ooo’ing and ahhh’ing over every little thing. I admit my eyes glazed over the moment we walked in. The entire experience was lost on me.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Lynn says:

    I used to pass by this museum frequently, when my son was at U of T. I often thought of visiting but have yet to get there! You have piqued my interest Joanne, I need to put it on my list of things to do this winter!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Isn’t it terrible how we tend to ignore the stuff in our own city and yet don’t think twice about exploring something similar in a city we are visiting.
      This really struck me last year and why I’ve been making such an effort to explore this city I’ve lived in for over 30 years.

      If and when you finally visit the Shoe Museum, I hope you’ll write about it!!

      Like

  22. treerabold says:

    I love shoes….my collection tends to be gym shoe based! But I have very cool gym shoes!!
    I enjoy museums….instead of a 2 year old’s brain…I’ve always considered my brain more of a puppy surrounded by squirrels! So the good thing about museums, there is always a lot to look at and if (when) I become quickly bored with one display….my brain quickly jumps to the next squirrel!!
    Great post Joanne!

    Like

  23. arlene says:

    Such a productive way to stay indoors. I love the shoes but I am wondering about that intricate pair from the Far East, did they really wear that?

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Aren’t they interesting? – in a very odd kind of way!

      I don’t remember the timeframe, but according to the information provided, this was a ‘spa’ sandal provided to ladies so they could feel “fashionable” even when naked in the spa. Go figure 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. bikerchick57 says:

    You need a pair of thermal, woolly shoes for the Arctic air that we, in the US, blame on Canada 😉 Anyhow, have fun searching for that perfect pair of shoes in 2015. A woman can never have too many!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      As a true-blue Canadian, I have my fair share of warm and woolly boots … and thermal long undies 😉

      … but I agree, a woman can never have too many shoes – or boots!! 🙂

      Like

  25. “flesh-freezing winds..” “I am not a museum person..” Yes, I know of these you speak! A very interesting day to spend a frigid day….two-year-old or not!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I’ve discovered that with the right company, almost anything can be fun.
      I’m lucky that my hiking partner is a good sport, likes to try new things, and is fun to be with 🙂

      Like

  26. Joanne, you are my kind of woman!

    Like

  27. Helen C says:

    Hello, Joanne, I am not crazy about shoes. Still, I find this post very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Helen

    Like

  28. Sammy D. says:

    Thanks for sharing your museum visit!! I cannot believe some of the designs humans choose to walk in! I will have to tangle you a shoe 😋

    Like

  29. I didn’t know all that about Bata shoes. They are a staple school shoe brand here in Australia (at least they were while I was growing up and while my children needed the drudgy old black lace ups). How cool that they are still a family owned business. Love that. I have a love of shoes too! Very interesting post and sounds like a great way to ‘kick off’ your 52 new things for the year 🙂

    Like

  30. Had to laugh at your inner two-year old. Couldn’t sneak up on anyone in those jingly jangly things. If I were wearing them, I couldn’t sneak, period! What am I say, “If I were wearing them.” I last wore heels in 2001.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Mara Eastern says:

    So, you have Bata even in Canada?! Impressive. Cheers from the Czech Republic 😉

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      No – Bata pulled out of Canada in the mid-2000s 😦
      … but the museum remains!!

      I remember their retail stores very well and the building where they had their headquarters was really interesting. The building was torn down after Bata moved to Switzerland … Toronto’s shame as far as I’m concerned.

      I didn’t know Bata was Czech until I did some background research. I was really surprised. I always assumed the Bata family was Canadian.
      We can share them 😉

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s