I have always loved writing, and now that I am retired I thought I would be able to find time to write, but it seems that I still manage to fill my days with activities. I have however found that while I travel, I enjoy writing about some of the interesting things we do. I hope you enjoy reading of our adventures as much as I like writing about them.
Friday, December 30, 2016
Shoes, Shoes, Shoes!
The Bata Shoe Museum
I had quite a few, varied jobs before
I settled on education as a career, but my first serious work experience was in
retail, working for the Bata Shoe Company. I worked there for three years and
actually managed my own store. I even met the owner of the company, T.J. Bata,
and I knew about the amazing collection of shoes his wife had amassed while
they ran the global company. When they retired from the retail business she
established a museum based on her shoe collection. The Bata shoe empire was
based in Canada and head office was in Toronto, so this is where the Bata Shoe museum is located. I have always wanted to visit this museum and spending
Christmas in Toronto finally gave me an opportunity to do this.
Stained Glass Pumps
The museum is located downtown in Toronto,
so it was a simple subway ride to get there. The building is supposed to be
shaped like a shoe box, but I think that just makes it a rectangular building
doesn’t it? In the entry way there was an impressive mobile made of stained
glass shoes, and there was an activity area downstairs where children could try
on a large collection of interesting shoes such as Dorothy’s red shoes, pink
cowboy books, or elf slippers . . .
The museum starts with a really interesting
history of footwear from earliest times, tracing what kind of shoes people wore
and how they were made across the globe and through time. Along the
For dancing the Devil's Dance
were examples of famous shoes and trends in footwear. Cinderella’s glass
slippers were there as well as P. E. Trudeau’s sandals or a pair of Marilyn
Monroe’s pumps. In addition, there were three temporary exhibits, all quite
interesting. One was dealing with footwear in the artic with displays from all
over the world. It was amazing to see how people living in the harsh northern
environment created unique footwear to their needs. A second was on men’s high
heels through the years – did you know that originally heels were introduced to
allow horse riders to hook their boots onto the stirrups? Thus the heels on
cowboy boots. The third exhibit was especially interesting, dealing with the
dangers in shoes. There were many toxic and poisonous chemicals used in the manufacture
of shoes, and originally simple shoe polish was composed of toxic material, but
many of the dyes and materials in the shoes themselves exposed the wearers to
danger in just wearing their footwear.
Elton John's Shoes
No one would consider buying a pair of
patent leather shoes to wear in the mud and snow, but in fact that was exactly
what they were invented for. The shiny smooth finish made them more waterproof
and easier to clean than ordinary leather shoes. Now you know!
Probably not for everyone, but I really
enjoyed exploring the Bata Shoe Museum, and I certainly know a lot more about
shoes than I did.