Art Blogging 12: Canadian Gallery Rec.: Bata Shoe Museum

I’ve been very fortunate to have the chance to explore a large number of art galleries in my own country, or at least in the eastern half of it. Today’s post is going to look at one art gallery that I particularly recommend – or, at least, I consider it to be an art gallery.

All about shoes: Footwear through the ages. Image from batashoemuseum.ca
All about shoes: Footwear through the ages. Image from batashoemuseum.ca

The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto is my recommendation, and here’s why. As someone who doesn’t particularly care about shoes (and I can’t wear anything with a heel due to an old sports injury in my ankle), I think it’s pretty remarkable that this gallery can make me care about foot-coverings for the duration of a visit. And boy, does it do that! The permanent collection that shows the evolution of footwear through time and cultures is really fascinating. The displays are colourful and well-curated, easy to follow, and there’s plenty of space to sit down and contemplate your surroundings (nice for someone like me who takes forever to get through exhibits).

Two temporary exhibits that I’ve visited made quite the impression, one that was on Canadian native culture and another on French 18th-century shoes. Oh, and another on basketball shoes. This year is their 20th anniversary, so I suspect the event line-up will be wonderful. At a glance, the exhibits Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels and Fashion Victims both look wonderful and luckily are on until next summer, so I hope to have a chance to visit.

Apparently a shoe from France meant for crushing chestnuts. Image via batashoemuseum.ca
Apparently a shoe from France meant for crushing chestnuts. Image via batashoemuseum.ca

Admission is quite reasonable especially for students, and they have a pay-what-you-want night on Thursdays. If you’re in Toronto and looking for a slightly eccentric museum pick, this is the place for you! Check out their website here.

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