Two decades ago, a “small gem of a museum” was built to showcase the history and vision that went into shoes. On the evening of May 7th, over two hundred well-heeled guests gathered to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Bata Shoe Museum (BSM), the only museum in North America dedicated exclusively to the significance of footwear and related artifacts.

Bata Shoe Museum

Bata Shoe Museum


Designed by Raymond Moriyama, founding partner of Moriyama & Teshima Architects, this striking edifice was sculpted in a deconstructivist form evoking the subtle shape of an opening shoe-box to house Sonja Bata’s breathtaking collection of rare historical shoes, acquired through her international business travels with the Bata Shoe Company.

Pink lights emanated from within the museum and glowed through the glass shard-like entry way; signalling that for this evening alone, the museum was transformed into a spectacular event space to celebrate the intersection between history, culture, and fashion.

The stage for the gala was set in the main Atrium, an extensive light-filled glass volume spanning three-stories that houses the feature staircase. Sonja Bata rang-in the festivities with her daughter and granddaughter Alexandra Weston, a co-chair of the successful sold-out event. Guests had the opportunity to view BSM’s massive shoe collections that contains everything from sandals worn by Egyptians 4,500 years ago to studded platform boots owned by rock stars.

Viewing of BSM’s newest temporary exhibition: “Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels” is also now available as a 20th anniversary . Performance artists and actors portraying Marilyn Monroe and Napoleon (equipped with a selfie stick), whose shoes are also both part of the exhibition, interacted with guests to add an extra flair to the gala. Those who came with their dancing shoes tore up the base level dancefloor as the DJ, music and laughs closed out the evening festivities.

As amazing as it was, the Gala was in fact a kick-off to a yearlong celebration of the museum’s 20th anniversary. Bata will be hosting special events featuring contemporary and bold art exhibition, performances, lectures, entertaining educational family programming, and community engagement all throughout the year.

In fact, the public can participate in the festivities this weekend starting with the BSM Community Birthday Bash. For more info, check out

And check out all the 20th anniversary celebrations here.

Here’s to another twenty years!

Check out Bata Shoe Museum including a look inside newest exhibition Stand Tall: The Curious History of Men In Heels.

Photos from the Bata Shoe Museum’s 20th anniversary bash

Photos by Nick Lee

In Photos: Wonderful Women presented by Weizmann Canada
Panorama Revised: The One Eighty on the 51st Floor

Danny Tseng