So, you want to visit a cool museum? The Bata Shoe Museum is exactly the type of museum you didn’t know that you had to visit, and you really need to! Right in downtown Toronto, this museum exhibits precisely what you’d expect from its name—shoes. It's the only museum in North America that's solely dedicated to the history of footwear. The collection consists of over 13,000 objects that span over 4,500 years.
The origin story of The Bata Shoe Museum starts with businesswoman Sonja Bata, who, in the 1940s, began collecting traditional footwear from various places she visited around the world. This hobby quickly turned into a passion, and by 1979, the size of Ms. Bata’s collection was too large to be contained at home. This led to the family creating the Bata Shoe Museum Foundation. Initially, the foundation mainly functioned as a lead funder for research on international footwear in changing cultures and communities. By 1995, the museum opened its doors.
The Bata Shoe Museum showcases the development, function, and style of footwear in four different galleries. “All About Shoes” is a permanent exhibit that goes through the 4,500-year history of footwear, while the other three galleries rotate, so there is always something new to experience!
This video gives you a glance inside the museum's various galleries:
In addition to its exhibits, the museum hosts an array of educational events for families on the weekends and can host programs for children in the city’s surrounding schools. With frequent events and involvement in the local community, there's always something happening at The Bata Shoe Museum.
Cover image by Joseph Morris is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.