Statement from the Bata Shoe Museum
Toronto, Canada, February 21, 2018


We are saddened to announce the passing of Mrs. Sonja Bata, Founder of the Bata Shoe Museum. A passionate collector, philanthropist, world traveller and business leader, Sonja Bata’s thirst for knowledge was both infectious and inspirational. Her drive for design excellence permeated every facet of her life and she encouraged this from those around her.


Her forward-thinking and innovative ideas, as well as her resilient drive for learning and discovery, earned her a global reputation both within the museum world, as well as within the worlds of business, the environment and arts & culture. Appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1983, Sonja Bata was also an Honourary Naval Captain for over 24 years. She devoted her time to myriad organizations, including The National Design Council, World Wildlife Fund Canada, Council for Business and the Arts in Canada and Junior Achievement.


Since the 1940s, she had searched for footwear treasures, building an extraordinary collection of over 13,000 artefacts chronicling 4,500 years of history. As the Founder of the Bata Shoe Museum, Sonja Bata avidly raised the international profile of the Museum to become a world-renowned institution dedicated to the scholarship of footwear history.
We will greatly miss her vision, her passion, her curiosity and her leadership.


Sheila Knox, Acting Director, Bata Shoe Museum, along with the BSM family


Click here to learn more about the life of Sonja Bata and read some of the many tributes we have received since her passing.  If you would like to share a memory or tribute, please email

If you would like to make a donation to the Sonja Bata Memorial Fund, which will directly support her lasting legacy, the Bata Shoe Museum, please use the Paypal link below or call 416-979-7799 x 250.

For media inquires, please contact Rosmarie Gadzovski, Head of Communications, Bata Shoe Museum
416-979-7799 x 225
Image credit: Michal Sváček