Bata Shoe Museum

Bata Shoe Museum

Most visited part of the Museum is surely the one where is exhibited the collection of celebrity footwear: silver shoes of Elton John, ball room slippers of the British Queen Victoria, blue shoes of Elvis Presley, “The Beatles” boot of John Lennon, boots with a zebra print of the painter Pablo Picasso

Ivana Dukcevic Budja, Furaj.ba

For a very certain period, many museums are not what they used to be-mere galleries of pictures and sculptures. One of the most interesting, contemporary museum (according to some criteria one of the Top 10) in the World is the Shoe Museum of the fashion house Bata in Toronto.

In this interesting museum, you can see footwear exhibition from every part of the World and from almost every historical period, which had been collecting for years for the Museum Sonja Bata, wife of Tomas Bata, heir of the founder of the prominent shoe empire-Tomas Bata. After the Second World War, moving to Canada and accompanying her husband on his frequent business trips, Sonja Bata managed to build up a huge collection of footwear. When her husband died in November in 2008, media again remembered the story of his father, a Czech from a place Zlin, who started his first production of footwear in 1894. inside two rooms in his place of birth.

In 1979. Bata family in Toronto established The Bata Shoe Museum Foundation as an international, research centre and a place where footwear collected for years found its place.

Fifteen years later, after having visited Sonja Bata, impressed and inspired with her shoe collection where each pair had been kept in its shoebox, architect Raymond Moriyana designed a building from metal and glass on four floors, in a shape of a container which looks like a shape of a shoebox. The building, located in the “museum area” in Toronto, at number 237 of the Bloor Street, was opened in 1995. The entire shoe collection was soon placed in the building and it became the permanent collection, which numbers over ten thousand individual pieces of shoes, but also paired ones.

Today, Bata Shoe Museum is a place of the largest and most compound shoe collection and shoe equipment in the World. There are several exhibitions at the Museum; one is permanent and the other three feature changing exhibitions, for instance: “Footwear through the Ages”, “Shoe Designers of the 20th century”, “From Renaissance to Baroque heels”. The permanent collection is divided into four sections: “All about Shoes”, “Inuit Boots-A Women’s art”, “The Gentle Step- The Ladies Realm of Fashion of the 19th century“, and „Illustrations from Contemporary Children’s Books about Shoes. “

The most extensive collection at the Museum is the one about Native American people- Indians and Intuits (Eskimos) whereas the most visited part of the Museum is surely the one where is exhibited the collection of celebrity footwear: the silver shoes of Elton John, the ball room slippers of the British Queen Victoria, the blue shoes of Elvis Presley, “The Beatles” boot of John Lennon, the boots with a zebra print of the painter Pablo Picasso

If you have a chance to walk through this amazing Museum, you will learn about different shoes and their stories, how they were made, materials that were used, what pointy shoes wore European, medieval Knight and what type of moccasins American Indian.

At the Museum, you can learn how shoes determined the social class in different cultures, to what extent their design had been the reflection of political and social circumstances and how practical shoes for various works had been designed. In the end, you will see how the pattern of socks throughout centuries influenced the shoe shape, for instance King Charles I or Napoleon Bonaparte; you will see shape of the craziest footwear in the World- French boots for crashing walnuts or footwear of Japanese sumo wrestlers!