Toronto – Bata Shoe Museum
For the last of my Toronto tales, I decided to write about my visit to the Bata Shoe Museum. Set in a shoebox-shaped building, the museum has a collection of over 12,500 pair of shoes to choose from and is the result of one man's passion for footwear. With semi-permanent and changing exhibitions scattered over four galleries, hundreds of pairs are being shown at any given time. This also means that there is always something new to discover.
Back in early November when I visited, there was a temporary display of Canadian artists footwear. While most of it was not unusual, it was fun to spot the ones belonging to singers I knew. This exhibition has now been replaced by "Footprints on the World Stage" and features for example red leather high heels that belonged to Marilyn Monroe or ankle boots once worn by John Lennon. It runs until January 2013.
"Arts in Shoes" is still open until April 2012. It shows shoe-related artwork such as prints, silverware or sculptures. While I found it interesting, it failed to really capture my imagination. On the other hand, I had a blast in "The Roaring Twenties" area (on until June 2012). What fabulous shoes! I was itching to put a pair on and go dancing.
"Beauty, Identity, Pride: Native North American Footwear" and "All About Shoes: Footwear Through the Ages" are both semi-permanent exhibitions. I admired the gorgeous and careful beadwork and embroidery in the first, wondering how many hours of work had been necessary to create such marvellous items. In the second instance, priceless finds such as a glass slipper, chestnut crushing clogs or the much more sophisticated ancestor of today's flip-flop had me totally enthralled.
So may I suggest that you first get your feet into a comfortable pair of shoes and then go and explore this wonderful museum?