Shoe lover and manufacturer dug in her heels to get shoe museum built in downtown Toronto The Bata Shoe Museum opened in 1995. The Bata Shoe Mu
You wouldn’t want to walk a mile in Sonja Bata’s shoes. With more than 13,000 pairs in her collection, you’d end up halfway around the world.
And they’re not all designed for easy ambulation, although all walks of life are represented, from 200-year-old chestnut-crushing clogs to Elton John’s silver platforms.
For the past two decades, the collection has been housed in the Bata Shoe Museum at Bloor and St. George Sts., but it was an uphill climb to get it there.
Attempts to establish the first museum of its kind in the Western hemisphere became so entangled in red tape, Bata contemplated putting it in Europe.
“But I’m a Torontonian,” she told a Toronto Star reporter in 1990. “I want to give this to Toronto — it would be such a boon to the city. Shoemaking was a very important part of Canada and people should know about it.”
So she dug in her heels and five years later opened her privately funded five-storey showcase.