Sonja I. Bata, CC

Plot V, Lot 174
Mount Pleasant Cemetery

Born in Zurich, Switzerland on November 8, 1926, Sonja Wettstein trained as an architect. After her marriage to Thomas J. Bata of Bata shoes, she left her studies and moved with her husband to Toronto in 1946. Although she has envisioned becoming a great architect, she concentrated instead on improving the Bata Shoe company. At much the same time, she began collecting shoes and studying their history. She endowed the Bata Shoe Museum Foundation in 1979. The actual Bata Shoe Museum, which she established in 1995, is the largest shoe museum in the world. Acting as the museum’s chairperson, Bata was largely responsible for the collection, and she never stopped collecting. She served as chair of the National Design Council; helped establish the Toronto French School; served as a director for the Art Gallery of Ontario; sat on the boards of Alcan and Canada Trustco (TD Canada Trust); was affiliated with the World Wildlife Fund; and, became an Honorary Captain in the Royal Canadian Navy and sponsor of HMS Ottawa. Sonja Bata, who was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1983, died at her home in Toronto on February 20, 2018, at the age of 91.

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