Unique Toronto Museums
By Elli Davis, October 12, 2011
Bata Shoe Museum by Steve Harris
Are you thinking about a cool way to spend an autumn afternoon in Toronto but you think you have seen everything? Perhaps you are a visitor who wants to experience something special. Visit some of the unique Toronto museums! We have hundreds of museums here, but I advise you to pay attention to the less typical ones.
The Bata Shoe Museum, one of the most popular museums in our city, is definitely worth a visit. If you have never been there, it is high time you visit. The Bata Shoe Museum offers its visitors the largest collection of shoes and various footwear-related artefacts in the world, containing more than 10,000 pieces. Thanks to the amazing idea of Sonja Bata and decades of research and collecting, the museum prides itself with shoes from all around the world as well as from various eras, including the ballroom slippers of Queen Victoria and the silver platform boots worn by Elton John.
Since its beginnings in the 1940s, the museum has changed venues a number of times. In 1995, it moved to its current location, a fabulous, four-storey building at 327 Bloor Street West designed by Raymond Moriyama. The museum usually offers four main exhibitions. Except for the semi-permanent All About Shoes: Footwear Through the Ages and Beauty, Identity, Pride: Native North American Footwear, visitors can currently enjoy JUNO Sole: Celebrating 40 Years of the JUNO Awards open until November 2011, Art in Shoes ~ Shoes in Art open until April 2012, and The Roaring Twenties: Heels, Hemlines and High Spirits open until June 2012.
Thousands of people visit this lovely place every year, and I dare say most of them leave very impressed. Follow in their footsteps (what an appropriate phrase here) and see what the museum has to offer. It is open every day of the week, and tickets are not too expensive: adults pay $14, but for students, seniors, and children, the price is lower, $8, $12, and $5, respectively. If you are not able to come to Toronto, do not worry: there is a solution for you, too. Many of the time-limited exhibitions become travelling exhibitions after they are replaced, and it is also possible to be entertained by one of the museum‘s online exhibitions. See its webpage to learn more.
CBC Museum by Marcin Wichary
Everything you have ever wanted to know about the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation you can now discover at the CBC Museum. The museum, located at 250 Front Street West, was founded in 1994, and its aim is to collect and preserve any CBC-related materials. The museum offers a number of exhibitions, and if you visit now, you will see two interesting ones. Growing up with CBC displays a number of pictures, puppets, and clips from Mr. Dressup and Sesame Park, two popular CBC shows for kids. CBC Radio Sound Effects shows a lot of equipment that the sound effects department at the CBC has been using for decades. Interested? The museum is open every weekday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., and admission is free, so visit anytime you wish. Hurry up if you want to see these two, though; the exhibitions change regularly. The webpage will inform you about any changes.
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library by Padraic
It is not really a museum, but if you want to be surrounded by the largest publicly accessible rare books and publications collection in Canada, there is no better place to visit than the University of Toronto‘s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. The library was named after Thomas Fisher (1792-1874), a merchant-miller who came from Yorkshire and settled along the Humber River in 1821.
In 1973, Fisher’s grandsons donated their collections of various authors, including Shakespeare, to the library, as well as etchings of Wenceslaus Hollar, a Bohemian artist. The library‘s collection has broadened significantly since then, and today it has about 600,000 volumes of manuscript holdings. Among the most famous and interesting pieces one can find are Darwin’s proof copy of On the Origin of Species (1859) and Newton’s Principia (1687). Check out everything the library has to offer in its online catalogue, or pay a personal visit to 120 St. George Street.
You might also want to attend one of the interesting exhibition organized a few times a year by the library‘s director. Unfortunately, a sad piece of news came just now: the library‘s long-time director, Richard Landon, responsible for all these exhibitions, passed away on October 5th. He will be greatly missed, but I hope his amazing tradition will continue.