In this Raymond Moriyama-designed building (it was inspired by an open shoe box) is the world's most extensive collection of footwear. The museum is home to over 12,500 artifacts, hundreds on exhibit and thousands carefully conserved in the basement archives. Surprisingly, this one-topic museum ends up packing quite the punch. Having grown out of a collection of unusual footwear started by a family that manufactures shoes, it manages to reveal fascinating historical tidbits about a number of trends around the world. For example, when the Anasazi Indians of the Southwestern U.S. learned how to make pottery, not everything improved in their lives. They stopped making baskets to carry food, lost their weaving skills, and their woven footware became shoddier. In 16th-century Europe, high heels came into vogue because they allowed that era's "1%" to say, "I'm so powerful I don't have to do any manual labor!" The collection ranges from historical pieces to celebrity-related shoes and boots. Start on the first floor viewing reproductions of the 3,700,000-year-old footprints found by Mary Leakey in Tanzania, and exact replicas of 5,000-year-old footwear found in the Alps in 1991. Then, continue to see examples from cultures around the world from the past 4,500 years. Artifacts include three-inch slippers from China (the size of the ideal "lotus feet"), and the "chestnut crusher" shoes worn by Roman Catholic Cardinals. Celebrity footwear ranges from items donated by Avril Lavigne and the the Bare Naked Ladies, to Robert Redford's cowboy boots, sandals from the Dali Lama, and 1840 satin shoes owned by Queen Victoria.
Bata Shoe Museum
327 Bloor St. West
Our Rating Neighborhood At St. George Street Hours Tues–Wed, Fri–Sat 10am–5pm, Thurs 10am–8pm, Sun noon–5pm; closed Christmas Day, Good Friday Transportation Subway: St. George Phone 416/979-7799 Prices $14 adults, $12 seniors 65 and over, $8 students, $5 children 5–17, $35 families; "pay what you want" Thurs 5–8pm Web site Bata Show Museum
Map327 Bloor St. West Toronto
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.