The Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto

The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada—designed to look like a shoebox—was photographed by Gisling on September 9, 2007.
The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada—designed to look like a shoebox—was photographed by Gisling on September 9, 2007. | Source

Shoes Paid for My Four Years of College

My father sold shoes. No, he was not like Al Bundy, the shoe salesman character portrayed by Ed O’Neill in the reruns I’ve seen of the television sitcom Married… with Children.

My father managed an independent shoe salon that had the distinction of being the second most expensive shoe store in the United States—the most expensive shoe salon in the country was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. My father’s store was in Short Hills, New Jersey.

Dad's career in the footwear industry after leaving the military enabled him to pay my college expenses and buy my first used car. I shall always be grateful for how shoes helped me earn a degree in Fine Arts.

Please join me on this virtual tour of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada—a museum my father would have loved to have visited.

A markerThe Bata Shoe Museum -
327 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1W7, Canada
[get directions]

The Bata Shoe Museum is located at 327 Bloor St. West, at the southwest corner of Bloor Street West and St. George Street in downtown Toronto.

Both street parking and paid parking lots within walking distance of the museum are available.

Telephone (416) 979-7799

Hours
10:00am to 5:00pm: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday

10:00am to 8:00pm: Thursday

12:00N to 5:00pm: Sunday

Admission
$14, Adults
$12, Age 65+
$8, Students with ID
$5, Age 5-17 inclusive
$0, Younger than $5

  • Special rates for family groups are available
  • Pay-what-you-want on Thursdays from 5:00pm to 8:00pm, with a suggested price of $5

The Origin of the Bata Shoe Museum

The Bata Shoe Company was founded in 1894 in what is now the Czech Republic. The company has remained in family members’ hands throughout the years, its headquarters having been moved several times.

Thomas J. Bata often traveled throughout the world on business for his family’s company. His wife Sonja accompanied him on these trips. To keep busy while her husband was in business meetings, Mrs. Bata went hunting for shoes. She acquired a physical example of every type of shoe she found. Her collecting shoes and footwear-related artifacts became an obsession.

In 1979, the Bata Shoe Museum Foundation was established. Its purpose was to operate a shoe museum and be a resource center for everything anyone would ever want to know about shoes. For a number of years, the shoe collection was displayed in the Bata offices and other sites in Toronto. In 1995, the museum opened in its present location—in a building designed to look like a shoe box.

Christian Louboutin Design

This shoe designed by Christian Louboutin was photographed at the Bata Shoe Museum by Sheila Thompson on February 28, 2006. Red soles are a trademark of Louboutin's shoe designs.
This shoe designed by Christian Louboutin was photographed at the Bata Shoe Museum by Sheila Thompson on February 28, 2006. Red soles are a trademark of Louboutin's shoe designs. | Source

Exhibits

The Bata Shoe Museum’s collection contains upwards of 10,000 pairs of shoes and footwear-related items spanning more than 4500 years of history. More than 1000 items are exhibited at any given time.

The museum has three types of exhibits:

Main Exhibits
There is one semi-permanent main exhibit and three changing exhibits. Currently, these exhibits are

  • Roaring Twenties: Heels, Hemlines and High Spirits
  • Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection
  • Beauty, Identity, Pride: Native North American Footwear
  • All About Shoes: Footwear Through the Ages

Reproduction of Prehistoric Shoe

This reproduction of a prehistoric shoe was photographed at the Bata Shoe Museum by Sheila Thompson on February 28, 2006.
This reproduction of a prehistoric shoe was photographed at the Bata Shoe Museum by Sheila Thompson on February 28, 2006. | Source

Snapshot Exhibits
Snapshot exhibits are short-term exhibits lasting just a week or two which are displayed in only five to 10 display cases. These exhibits usually highlight a particular type of footwear or a collection of shoes owned by a notable person.

Online Exhibits
Online exhibits, created so that people not living near Toronto can visit the museum virtually, feature stories and artifacts related to a particular aspect of the museum’s collection.

Christain Louboutin Design

This shoe designed by Christain Louboutin was photographed at the Bata Shoe Museum by Sheila Thompson on February 28, 2006. Once again, notice Louboutin's trademarked red soles.
This shoe designed by Christain Louboutin was photographed at the Bata Shoe Museum by Sheila Thompson on February 28, 2006. Once again, notice Louboutin's trademarked red soles. | Source

If you had the opportunity to do so, would you tour the Bata Shoe Museum?

  • Yes. I love shoes.
  • No. I prefer flip flops.
See results without voting

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Comments 56 comments

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Daisy, interesting hub. We have a similar museum in a town called Northampton; their football team are even called 'the cobblers' (that's what we call show-makers over here). I have visited the Northampton museum and I found it fascinating. I love anything that shows you the history of a particular trade. I would be very happy to spend a morning at the Bata Museum.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Julie (Jools99),

Thanks for reading my article and being the first person to comment. I find it incredible that Sonja Bata collected more than 10,000 footwear-related items for the museum.

I would love to visit the museum! I'll have to plan on doing so the next time I'm in Toronto.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

This looks awesome and so is this hub! I love shoes, all kinds. What a fun museum this would be to visit. Thanks for the information Daisy!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I'm going to have to make time for this museum. Bata Shoes are all over Southeast Asia and I've bought their products on occasion when I've been in that part of the world. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Glimmer Twin Fan,

I'm glad you enjoyed reading my Hub. Thanks for commenting.

I would love to visit this museum! Who knows where my travels will take me? If it's Toronto, I'll be sure to put the Bata Shoe Museum on my "must visit" list.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Aurelio (alocsin),

Thanks for reading my Hub and commenting. From what my research found, one of the few places in the world without a Bata shoe store is the United States. If you visit the museum, please post another comment.


Kaili Bisson profile image

Kaili Bisson 4 years ago from Canada

Daisy this is wonderful. I actually visited this museum many years ago when I lived in TO...such a fascinating collection. I have some two-tone green suede platforms from the 70s I'm sure they would love to have...voted up!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Kaili,

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. You're the first person who has commented who has visited the museum.

Have you contacted the museum regarding your 1970s platform shoes? Perhaps they'll add the shoes to their collection and give you some annual passes to the museum in return.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

This has a special meaning to me because - strange though it may seem- Bata shoes were leading footwear supplier's in India and as I grew up my first footwear were from Bata. As a child the word 'Bata' was synonymous with shoes and sandals! I only recently realised the history of Bata and that there is a museum in Canada. I have been to Toronto and if I had known I'd have visited this place. It's great you bring to our attention not only art history but also these quirky little museums that celebrate artistry and workmanship. voted up, of course and highly interesting, Daisy.


theclevercat profile image

theclevercat 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Ohh, shoes! One of my favorite shopping items. I would love to visit this museum. Meanwhile, Ill definitely be checking out their online exhibits. Thanks so much for posting!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mohan (Docmo),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. As always, I appreciate your continued support of my writing.

Thanks, too, for providing us with some insight into your childhood in Tamil Nadu. From my research, I learned that Bata footwear are sold everywhere in the world except the United States.

As you know, my degree is in Fine Arts and I'm certified to teach art in Kindergarten through the 12th grade (aprroximately ages five though 18). I enjoy reading Hubs in which I learn something new. I seem to have fallen into writing articles in which I'm subtly teaching. I'm very happy when my readers learn something from what I write.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Rachel (theclevercat),

It's great to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it.

If you see something interesting in the museum's online exhibits, please feel free to post your finding here.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean

Very interesting. Amazing how some things that we take for granted can be highlighted to great importance by other people. Go Shoes!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

MsDora,

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my Hub and commenting in it.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

I really enjoyed reading this article. I am not really a shoe person like a lot of gals are: I'm a flip flop kind of gal.

I voted this UP, etc.


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Something about shoes that are interesting. You never really consider it as a part of history until you see something like this. I read recently that shoe choices vary with a recession and a museum like this is definitely interesting to see that play out. Great hub!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mary,

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I own a lot of pairs of footwear. Since I work out of my home, and I go to the gym every day, when I wear shoes it's usually my ones for the gym.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Alecia,

Thanks for reading my article and adding your inciteful comment. I hadn't thought of it before, but when there's less money to be spent, the footwear that is purchased is probably of the more practical variety.


KDuBarry03 4 years ago

Huh, never heard of a shoe museum before but it definitely sounds interesting! When I visit Canada, definitely stopping by this museum for a visit! Great hub :)


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Keith (KDuBarry03),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I appreciate your continued support of my writing. I plan on visiting this museum on my next visit to Toronto.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California

How great is it that the Beta Shoe Museum offers a virtual tour right online! Who doesn't LOVE shoes!? The reproduction of a prehistoric shoe makes me very thankful for modern shoe engineering and design! Another top of the line hub, Daisy! Up and much more!

HubHugs~


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

India (K9keystrokes),

Thanks for reading and commenting in another of my Hubs. I appreciate your continued support of my work.

The straw was used inside the prehistoric shoe for warmth, The shoe doesn't look very comfortable, does it?


Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

An interesting read and a great hub. Enjoyed reading!!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nithya (Vellur),

Thanks for reading my Hub and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed the article.


PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 4 years ago from Florida

Daisy,

What a great article about shoes and how they enriched you life with your father help of course. Fathers are so sweet to their daughters, and I know you think of him often.

Thank you for sharing something close to your heart and personal.

Your Hub Friend,

Bobbi Purvis


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Bobbi,

Thanks for reading my article and commenting. I appreciate your very kind words. My father would have loved to have visited this museum.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

awesome shoes,.. i love them daisy... great hub

debbie


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Debbie,

Thanks for reading my article and commenting. Wouldn't it be fun to visit this museum?


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

What? No flip-flops??? They should have a shrine. I enjoyed your story about your dad. I'm not a fan of shoes. I'd rather be in sneakers, barefoot or flip-flops. I did like the tour! Shoes are a work of art in so many ways.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Linda (Sunshine625),

Thanks for reading and commenting in my article. My dad would have loved visiting this museum.

I have lots of pairs of shoes, but I'm usually wearing sneakers, sandals, or clogs. One of my pairs of clogs are a work of art. I bought them in Sweden. They have handpainted decorations on them.

There weren't very many legally-attributable photographs from the museum's collection online, so it's quite possible there are fancy flip-flops in the museum. One of my readers has been to the museum. We'll have to ask her about the flip-flops.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Wow, thanks for sharing about your dad's career in the footwear industry. A good pair is so important, whether it is for comfort or style. Thanks for sharing, Daisy. Shared!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

I still prefer my flip-flops, but I do appreciate the shoe as fascinating artwork.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Michelle (midget38),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub.

I have so many styles of shoes, but living in Southern California and working from home, I'm usually barefoot. I keep sandals near the front door of my house and the door leading to the garage, in case I have to leave the house on short notice.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Linda (Sunshine625),

Thanks for stopping by again. I know what you mean about the flip-flops. I have a few pairs of those, and a few pairs of sandals. I usually wear sandals or gym shoes when I leave the house.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

Yes! I do love my gym shoes also. I wear Skechers and they are like walking on air!:)


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Linda (Sunshine625),

I wear Gel-Kayano gym shoes. The company comes out with a new model of the shoe every year, but they're too expensive for me to buy a new pair until the old one falls apart.


newusedcarssacram profile image

newusedcarssacram 3 years ago from Sacramento, CA, U.S.A

Shoe museum, sounds exiting...One more in my bucket list.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

What better subject for a woman to write about and a woman to read? SHOES! I love shoes and a museum dedicated to shoes has got to be just the coolest thing. You can bet if I'm ever up that way I'm heading to the Bata Shoe Museum.

Voted up and interesting.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

newusedcarssacram,

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. If you visit the museum, please post another comment.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mary (tillsontitan),

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I learned about this museum when I saw the title of the Hub listed in the Exclusives.

I, too, plan to visit the museum the next time I'm in Toronto. A museum about shoes which is shaped like a shoe box has got to be a fun place to explore!


KenWu profile image

KenWu 3 years ago from Malaysia

Shoe museum could be something interesting but we don't have one here in Malaysia. BTW, I have owned many pairs of Bata shoes; they are not expensive but quite durable.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Ken,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. The Bata Shoe Museum is a one-of-a-kind museum. It wouldn't be possible for one to open in a second location.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Oh to be able to wear some of those beautiful shoes! I do love them. I am in flip flops most of the time, but always enjoy wearing heels when possible. I would love to visit this museum some day.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Dianna (teaches12345),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I'm in sandals or gym shoes all the time. I don't know when the last time was that I wore heels.

The shoes designed by Christian Louboutin are works of art, not just shoes. If I had to wear heels, I wouldn't mind ones that looked like either of the pairs I showcased in my Hub.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

What gorgeous shoes! I have terrible foot problems stemming from years of wearing high-heels on stage. Talk about abusing your feet. Hence, I am forever bound to wearing expensive, orthodic-type shoes such as 'Pikolinos', 'New Balance', 'Earth' and such. No need to tell you I learned my lesson - but too late.

So interesting reading about your father managing the second most expensive shoe salon in the U.S. and how he was able to send you to college and even buy your first car from his earnings.

What I wouldn't give to tour The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. It's now on my bucket list.

Thanks Daisy for this most interesting and very enjoyable article. ~ Audrey


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 2 years ago from Planet Earth

I'd never heard if the Shoe Museum until now! Toronto is on my Go-To list, so I will add this to my goals of what to see there.

BTW - the first ad that appears on the page (for me) is about treating bunions! Lol!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Audret (vocalcoach),

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I was in Toronto a number of years ago, but I hadn't heard of the Bata Shoe Museum at that time. It sounds like an interesting place to visit the next time I'm in Toronto.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Marcy,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I hope you get to visit Toronto some day.

The ads I'm seeing are different. Among the item I see listed in the "Related Search" section are Shoes (not Shoe) Stores, Runners Shoes, Platforms (not Platform) Shoes, and Hub Footwear.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM

Daisy: This is a hub near and dear to my heart! I love shoes. This is quite interesting and I didn't know it even existed so thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I have worn Bata shoes - when I lived in Europe - and they are quite comfortable especially for long walking. The prehistoric shoe is interesting and basically a clog which we wear a version of today. I love the grass inside to cushion the foot. LOL! It is amazing how the shoe has evolved over the years.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Suzette (suzettenaples),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. The Bata Shoe Museum seems to be a wonderfully-kept secret. Some readers were aware of Bata shoes, but only one reader who used to live in Toronto has visited the museum.

The prehistoric shoe does look similar to some of my clogs. The grass lining used in prehistoric times was a clever idea.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 23 months ago from Dubai

Came back to read and see the photos again, interesting and informative hub.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 23 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nithya (Vellur),

Thanks for returning to read my article another time. I appreciate your continued support of my writing.


Joyfulcrown profile image

Joyfulcrown 23 months ago

I've never heard of this museum before, but it is a place I would love to visit! What girl doesn't like shoes? :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia

Sounds like the museum would be an interesting place to visit Daisy. Bata shoes have been the most popular brand of school shoe here in Australia for as long as I can remember. Not so popular for adult shoes..I remember boys shoes used to be called "Bata Scouts" and had animal footprint patterned soles, girl shoes were "Bata Pony Tails."


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 23 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Joyfulcrown,

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I'm not certain how well-known the museum is outside of Canada. I agree that it would be a fun place to visit!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 23 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

John (Jodah),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. It's seems that Bata shoes, especially those for children, are popular in many countries. I wonder why they're not sold in the United States.

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