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|Established||May 6, 1995|
|Location||327 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Public transit access|
The Bata Shoe Museum is a footwear museum in downtown Toronto, Canada, located at Bloor St. and St George St. in the Bloor St. Culture Corridor. The museum collects, researches, preserves and exhibits, footwear from around the world. It offers four exhibitions, three of which are time-limited, lectures, performances and family events. The collection contains over 13,500 items from throughout history, as well as the present. It is the only museum in North America dedicated solely to the history of footwear.
The collection which became the Bata Shoe Museum was started by Sonja Bata in the 1940s. As she travelled the world on business with her husband, Thomas J. Bata of the Bata Shoe Company, she gradually built up a collection of traditional footwear from the areas she was visiting.
In 1979, the Bata family established the Bata Shoe Museum Foundation to operate an international centre for footwear research and house the collection. From 1979 to 1994, the collection was stored at the offices of Bata Limited in the Don Mills area of Toronto. In June 1992, the Bata Shoe Museum opened a gallery on the second floor of the Colonnade, an office and retail complex in downtown Toronto, where it remained until November 1994. On May 6, 1995, the current museum opened its doors to the public in its own newly constructed building.
Designed by Raymond Moriyama and completed in 1995, the structure is located at the southwest corner of Bloor and St. George streets in downtown Toronto. Its form is derived from the idea of the museum as a container. Associating the form with footwear, Moriyama stated that the building is meant to evoke an opening shoe box; it has a deconstructivist form with canted walls and a copper-clad roof offset from the walls of the building below in an interesting play of volume and void. The main facade (north) along Bloor Street pinches inward to where the entrance, in the form of a glass shard, emerges, creating a more generous forecourt. This glass protrusion is one end of a multi-level 'cut' through the building which contains the main vertical circulation, providing a clear view through the building to the three-story faceted glass wall, designed by Lutz Haufschild, on the south facade. The entire stone volume appears to float above a ribbon of glass display windows on street level; the limestone glows in late afternoon sunlight.
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