Welcome to the BSM!
Discover the treasures of North America’s inspiring, charming and surprising shoe museum.
Located in Toronto, Canada, the Bata Shoe Museum (BSM) regularly displays over a thousand shoes and related artifacts, chosen from a collection of over 13,000 objects, in architect Raymond Moriyama’s iconic, award-winning building. The BSM celebrates the style, development and function of footwear across four impressive galleries, with displays ranging from Chinese bound-foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs and glamorous platforms. Over 4,500 years of history are reflected in our permanent exhibition, All About Shoes while our three other galleries feature changing exhibitions – so there’s always something new to see.
How a Personal Passion Grew Into An Internationally Acclaimed Collection
Sonja Bata’s involvement in the global shoe industry enabled her to build one of the world’s finest collections and to create North America’s foremost shoe museum. Within our stunning building lies a wealth of fashion lore and invaluable information.
Shoes are an indication of personal taste and style. Yet shoes can also tell us much about the world’s technological development, and can mark shifts in society’s attitudes and values. Footwear illustrates entire ways of life, reflecting climate, religious beliefs and the development of trades, and how attitudes to gender and social status changed through the ages.
In 1979, when Mrs. Bata’s private collection had outgrown its home, the Bata family established the Bata Shoe Museum Foundation. Over the years the Foundation funded fieldwork to collect and research footwear in communities where traditions are changing rapidly – notably North America’s Indigenous cultures and circumpolar groups in Canada, Siberia, Alaska and Greenland. These field studies have resulted in many academic publications for the Foundation, from The Typology of Native Footwear to Spirit of Siberia: Traditional Native Life, Clothing and Footwear.
The main objective of the Foundation, however, was to establish an international centre for footwear research. The result was the Bata Shoe Museum, with its unrivalled collection of over 13,000 shoes and related objects.
On May 6 1995 the Bata Shoe Museum opened its doors at 327 Bloor Street West in downtown Toronto, in an iconic building designed by Moriyama and Teshima Architects. As a unique, world-class specialized museum, it has become a major destination point for visitors and residents alike.