The week before last Chris and I took a jam-packed vacation to Toronto for some much needed adventures, and of course, we stopped in to a couple of historic sites and museums along the way. We took far too many pictures and saw too many things to be able to do a good deep-dive into the exhibits and tours we experienced, so I decided to just post some slideshows from each visit, and highlight a couple of my favourite things.

The first stop we made was actually a little side-trip to Hamilton on the GO-train. We decided to have some delicious donuts by the water and then, fuelled by sugar, we hiked over to Dundurn Castle to take the tour. If you are at all enchanted or interested by the life depicted in Downton Abbey, then Dundurn is an absolute must. The tour guide did an excellent job of showing us the neat artifacts of the house, explaining how the household actually functioned, and the relationship between the servants and the family that is visible in the design and mechanisms of the house itself. It happened to be a beautiful day when we visited, so we got to see the house at it’s best. On top of that, we were two of a four-person tour group, so we had ample opportunity to ask questions and get our history nerd on.

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The next day, we took a very special trip to The Bata Shoe Museum. If you read my post about an exhibit I saw there last year, than you’ll know that the Bata is my all-time favourite museum. The last trip we took to Toronto was a working one for Chris, so this was the first time he was able to visit the museum after listening to me gushing about it for a year. We took the most pictures of the current Manolo Blahnik exhibit.

We were lucky enough when we arrived to actually have a bit of a chat with the Manager of Education and Volunteer Resources, Andrea Field. At the end of our chat, she asked if we wanted to hold Shaquille O’Neil’s boot, which they use for interpretation with kid’s programs. Who can say no to a question like that? At a size 22, this was a pretty fun boot to take some pictures with, and you can see that I was having a blast!

Chris’ mom wasn’t able to join us at the museum, and really wanted to see this exhibit, so we made sure to photograph every shoe on display. I enjoyed the section of this exhibit that focused on the work Blahnik did for the Marie Antoinette film starring Kirsten Dunst. While all of the shoes on display were exhibited with Blahnik’s original sketches, the sketches for the film included research notes and fabric swatches that added that little extra touch of seeing the behind-the-scenes working in a way that I really appreciated.

We also took a few pictures of their other current exhibit, “The Gold Standard: Glittering Footwear from Around the Globe,” which was all about gold shoes. I’ve seen a lot of social media from the Bata about this exhibit, so I wore my own gold shoes for the occasion!

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Finally, we also made a stop at Mackenzie House, and the tour we had there was just delightful! For myself, the highlight was being able to use the printing press ourselves and take home our own self-made souvenirs of what we had printed. I’m planning to pick up some frames so that we can show ours off.

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They showed us how to turn on gas lanterns!

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