The Bata Shoe Museum is one of the most interesting museums in the world. Hundreds of shoes (from a collection numbering over 10,000) are on exhibit in four impressive galleries. Footwear on display ranges from Chinese bound foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs and glamorous platforms.
The collection originated with Sonja Bata in the 1940s. She was born in Switzerland, where she studied architecture. Since 1946 she traveled the world with her husband, Thomas J. Bata (CEO of the Bata Shoe Company), and built up a collection of traditional footwear from the areas she was visiting. In 1979, when Mrs. Bata’s collection had outgrown the available private storage space, the Bata family decided to establish the Bata Shoe Museum Foundation. In 1995 the expanded museum opened its doors to the public in its own building located in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Today, the Bata Shoe Museum is the largest museum in North America dedicated solely to the history of footwear. I will definitely visit it again next time I’m in Toronto!