Seniors ‘Snail Strut’

charity snail strut for seniors

Seniors take part in the annual St. Hilda’s Foundation ‘Snail Strut’ Walk in Toronto. The walk is geared towards people who are 85 years and older. The goal is to raise money for repairs to their seniors’ residence.

Eva Altay, at 103 years old, was the eldest of more than 115 participants in the event. The average age is 97. Ms. Altay has been living in St. Hilda’s Towers Retirement Residence for 21 years and credits the facilities for her good health and sharp mind. “It’s the secret to why I’m so old. It’s because they keep me well,” said Ms. Altay, who also volunteers at the residence. “When I was younger, I could do much more, but now I just help with little things.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/seniors-strut-their-stuff-in-support-of-charity/article19254768/

Holt Renfrew: Under the Skin of Luxury Shoes

museums galleries luxinside x-ray

In a travelling exhibit, high-end retailer Holt Renfrew partnered with the French Embassy to reveal what the highest price items are made of. Combining art and science, Paris-based journalist Laurence Picot used a medical scanner and photography to examine fourteen top luxury items.  These included the new Hermès saddle, the S.T. Dupont lighter and Pierre Corthay shoes.

“LuxInside – Traces of Man” offers an inside view of excellent craftsmanship.  “The principle behind luxury products is that you should not see signs of human innovation or the work that went into them,” Picot explained. Nevertheless, she was fascinated by the manufacturing processes and the people involved. Unsurprisingly, luxury retailers were unwilling to reveal the inner qualities of their designs. This only set Picot and a collective of artists and scientists onto an investigation that “diagnoses” the talent, the traces of what man has produced.

You may have wondered aloud at the $1,000 price tag for a pair of red-soled Christian Louboutin heels. There’s more to luxury than meets the eye. It is the use of a very durable, costly metal — originally patented for the aircraft industry — to structure the heel and sole, resulting in a heel that will properly support a women’s ankle and stand the test of time.

The exhibit arrived in Canada after its tour of Europe and South America.

http://www.fajomagazine.com/exclusives/luxinside

http://strategyonline.ca/2014/05/22/holt-renfrews-see-through-exhibit/

Photo Source:

http://www.blogto.com/fashion_style/2014/05/this_week_in_fashion_luxinside_exhibit_ideal_charity_fashion_show_and_designer_sample_sales/

Bata Shoe Museum: The Rise of Sneaker Culture

museum galleries Bata out of the box

The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto is a cultural gem in a shoe-box-like structure designed by famed architect Raymond Moriyama. Boasting a collection of 13,000 shoes and related artifacts, the museum has four galleries, with displays ranging from Chinese bound-foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs and glam platforms.

The current special exhibit “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture” explores the history of the sneaker with some 120 running shoes from the past 150 years. On view are some of the rarest sneakers from the archives of Adidas, Nike, Reebok, PUMA, Converse and England’s Northampton Museums and Art Gallery, with the largest collection of historical footwear in the world. On loan are shoes from rap music legends Run DMC, sneaker guru Bobbito Garcia aka Kool Bob Love and Dee Wells from OSD (Obsessive Sneaker Disorder).

Now termed a “status symbol and icon of urban culture,” the historical beginnings of the sneaker are shown from its emergence in the 19th century to becoming “one of the most democratic forms of footwear” in the 20th century.

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/01/15/out-of-the-box-at-torontos-bata-shoe-museum

www.batashoemuseum.ca

DIY Shoe-Making

Shoemaker DIY

The recent enthusiasm of the Maker Movement – tinkerers, craftspeople and cottage industrialists – has made DIY a prevalent, profitable enterprise. Further, advances in technology (e.g. 3-D printers by MakerBot) have eliminated barriers to the business boom in the basement. Even shoe-making is ripe for reinvention.

Sarah Eldershaw, a Toronto shoe-maker, developed a mail-order kit for DIY footwear.  Her “Shoe String Assemblies” are available online.  Each pack contains a needle and thread, a rubber sole, a pair of laces, instructions and a handful of leather bits. The hide (all vegetable tanned to avoid toxins) is pre-punched to make stitching easier. Unlike most shoemaking, there’s no glue involved (not even in the shipping packs, which are held together with the laces), and the design doesn’t require a last, the form required to mold most footwear.

Eldershaw’s invention, which she calls “Moxfords”, was a graduation project from OCADU (Ontario College of Art and Design University).  It was also a winner at the competition sponsored by Association of Chartered Industrial Designers of Ontario. Judges were impressed that Eldershaw wore her prototypes throughout the 12-hour event.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/design/introducing-footwear-for-the-diy-crowd/article18778150/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maker_movement

Standing for American Values

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Hilary Clinton’s latest book launch is well under way. She spoke to the Toronto Region Board of Trade yesterday (June 16, 2014) and participated in televised interviews with CBC and CTV.

In her book ‘Hard Choices’ and in an interview last week in New York, she revealed that decision making often pits U.S. strategic interests against bedrock U.S. values. The interviewer asked: “Where did you stand on that continuum when you began your job as secretary of state and where do you stand now?”

She responded, “I had hoped there was a way to more closely align them. We could do more to get our values and our strategic interests to be coinciding. I worked very hard to do that. But I also came to realize what generations of American diplomats and leaders understood before me: that often it’s not possible and often you have to make that hard choice – stand for your values and be ready to take the consequences.”

When, for example?  “In my book, I describe how we let blind [Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng] into our embassy. It was a perfect example of being forced to make a decision that was primarily a values decision and believing we had done enough to firmly ground our relationship with China in a broader discussion about where we could work together, where our disagreements would persist, that the relationship was strong enough to withstand what would be a difficult, confrontational experience for both sides.”

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/stand-for-your-values-on-the-hard-choices/article19175854/

Photo Source:  https://www.google.ca/search?q=hillary+clinton+images&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=wgefU5qCC5e2yASnxIG4BQ&sqi=2&ved=0CBsQsAQ&biw=1228&bih=589

 

Recognizing Ability: A Foot Artist

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Daniel Laflamme grabs a water bottle with his foot and bends over to take a sip. Then he adroitly places a paintbrush between his toes and begins to paint.  Deaf and mute, Laflamme, who has cerebral palsy, communicates through his painting. 

In 2006, the Quebec City artist was in Toronto to help publicize an exhibition by Canada’s Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.  The organization sells replicas of the painters’ works on greeting cards and calendars to help the artists live independent lives.

At the organization’s headquarters on St. Clair Avenue West, Laflamme showed off his prowess as an artist. Bent over like a pretzel on the floor, he painted with authority and skill as he worked on a still life of flowers and a fruit bowl.

Then he stopped to get more paint. He used one foot to bring the palette of paints closer to him.  Holding his paintbrush between his toes, he dipped his brush in the paint and then began once more to delicately apply color to his masterpiece.

 

Quoting: Debra Black, Toronto Star, July 7, 2006

Photo by: Rick Eglinton, Toronto Star, July 7, 2006. Photo Source: http://thestar.blogs.com/photoblog/2012/05/yonge-and-eglinton-no-longer-intersect.html

Feeling Concrete (or Snow) Under His Toes

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Journalist Thane Burnett went barefoot to feel the true grit of Toronto’s streets. He was a neophyte to the unshod lifestyle; his 10 little ‘piggies’ were always wrapped up tight while going to market — or anywhere else. For this one-day experiment on the pavement, he walked with Barefoot Moe, an expert on the ropes (and over the cracks).

Their conversation and the bare bottom walkabout did not convert the journalist.  He certainly did his research, presenting facts and anecdotes on the increasing popularity of going barefoot. However, as he walked he glanced enviously at the shoes on a homeless man and at the tiny ones on a baby. The article gives clear voice to Barefoot Moe’s enthusiasm. But, once the journalist was alone, he frantically washed his feet in an office washroom sink and quickly donned his black-leather shoes.  Once a shoddie, always a shoddie? 

No flip flopping in this story.

 

Adapted from:  http://www.theobserver.ca/2009/08/25/barefooters-take-to-the-road

Photo Source of Barefoot Moe:  https://www.google.com/images?hl=en&q=barefoot+Moe+images&gbv=2&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ei=cyxDU9noD4a9yAGHsoGwBw&ved=0CBsQsAQ

 

 

 

What’s the Walkability of Your Neighborhood?

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What is Walkability?

                (From: http://www.janeswalk.org/information/resources/walkability)

Walkability is a quantitative and qualitative measurement of how inviting or un-inviting an area is to pedestrians. Walking matters more and more to towns and cities as the connection between walking and socially vibrant neighborhoods is becoming clearer. Built environments that promote and facilitate walking – to stores, work, school and amenities – are better places to live, have higher real estate values, promote healthier lifestyles and have higher levels of social cohesion.

When you think of an area you like to walk, it probably has certain conditions or features that make it walker-friendly. For many that means wide well-maintained sidewalks, benches, good lighting, direct routes, interesting stores, buildings and amenities. For others it might mean shady green spaces, quieter routes or places where strollers, dogs and scooters are welcome. Walkability is a subjective measurement – some people like to stroll quietly on side streets, while others seek out the hustle and bustle of busy commercial districts. Often these subjective considerations are about our desire to be safe, other times it’s about aesthetic preferences.

Examining the walkability of a neighborhood, town or city is an important factor to consider when thinking about making places more welcoming, livable and safe. Areas where lots of people are around, shopping, going to work or school, or just hanging out are considered more desirable living places which promote social connectedness, healthy lifestyles and reduce car dependence and greenhouse gas emissions.

Our Walkability Tool Kit is a very basic introduction to the concepts of walkability and offers some simple tools to help you measure and capture the walking environment in your neighborhood. The process helps connect local residents, raises awareness about what makes a community walkable, and the data and observations collected can be useful in the larger goal of making improvements.

For Walkability Tool Kit:   http://www.janeswalk.org/old/assets/uploads_docs/2010_walkability_checklist_janes_walk.pdf

See also:   http://tidescanada.org/about/change-makers/janes-walk-and-centre-for-city-ecology/

                  http://www.janeswalk.org/information/resources/walkability

The Well-Heeled Heritage of Stilettos

“One of the best ways of damning a woman is saying she wears practical shoes,” said Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator at Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum. ‘On a Pedestal,’ a museum exhibit, examined two of the most extreme forms of Western footwear, the chopine and its successor, the high heel.

The sex appeal of the clunky chopine may not be immediately apparent, but it embodies the same ideals a pair of six-inch Louboutins do today, a simultaneous sense of power and that stalwart of femininity: impracticality. No sensible shoes here

http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2010/09/10/think_stilettos_are_hazardous_check_out_these_heels.html

Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum’s exhibition “On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels” ran from November 19, 2009 to September 20, 2010.

(pictured below) Venetian chopines, 16th century, on loan from Museo Palazzo Mocenigo, Venice, Italy

The tallest chopines come from Venice. Some, such as this pair, have pedestals measuring over 50 cm in height. These chopines corroborate the visual and textual evidence suggesting that some women actually wore chopines of such towering heights. This pair has been conserved for this exhibition but will not be allowed to travel again. This pair has been conserved for this exhibition but will not be allowed to travel again.   Photograph © Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia

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(pictured below) Milanese chopines, 16th century, on loan from Castello Sforzesco, Milan, Italy

These chopines are typically Italian in design. Their bases are of carved pine, tapering in the middle and flaring at the base to provide greater stability and are covered in white kid. The uppers are decorated with cutwork in patterns reminiscent of lace from the same period.  Civiche Raccolte d’Arte Applicata – Castello Sforzesco, Milan. All rights reserved

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http://batashoemuseum.ca/exhibitions/on_a_pedestal/index.shtml

A Natural Pairing: Women and Shoes

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The Shoe Project is a writing workshop that enables women new to Canada to share life stories based on their memorable shoes. The workshops, led by award-winning author Katherine Govier, are held at the Bata Shoe Museum in downtown Toronto.

 Katherine states on her website http://www.govier.com/shoe.htm    “We meet for eight weeks in spring and fall. We exchange stories of arrival, and the role shoes play in old and new lives. At the end of each session we have either a ‘Snapshot Exhibit’ or a performance…The Shoe Project tours, too! Our shoes have been exhibited at Bow Valley College in Calgary and Mohawk College in Hamilton.”

 Check out these titles, among many others: 

  • In My Red High Heels
  • My Valentino Shoes
  • Democratic Shoes
  • My Mother’s Working Shoes
  • The Wind Beneath My Feet
  • My Convocation Shoes
  • My Great Grandmother: The Wartime Shoemaker
  • Sand in My Shoes

 For more information write to:  shoeprojecttoronto@gmail.com