Juno Sole

New shoe exhibit marks 40 years of the JUNO awards

Juno Sole, the newest exhibition to march through The Bata Shoe Museum, allows visitors to walk in the shoes of some of Canada's most influential musicians. Unfortunately, you can't literally walk in them, but these shoes - worn by past and present JUNO nominees and winners - are on display in celebration of a major milestone in Canadian music.

In honour of the 40th Anniversary of the JUNO Awards, the museum teamed up with The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) to compile a collection of over 40 pairs of celebrity kicks. Initially, I thought the pairing to be a bit forced. What the heck does music have in common with footwear? The exhibit, however, successfully tied the two together. Exhibition Manager, Sarah Beam-Borg, asked our group to consider the significance of an artist's image to his or her success. She was absolutely right.

Juno Sole

The style-over-substance content in mainstream music is pretty alarming, granted. But even actual talent can only get an artist so far. Love it or hate it, it's a package. Who would Gaga be without her props, and Emily Haines without her sulk? The shoes in the collection say so much about an artist. In most cases, it's pretty obvious- Cons for Avril, cowboy boots for Tom Cochrane, gold stilettos for Jully Black - but there are a few surprises. Just guess who owns the high-top orange 80s Reeboks! (Hint: she's won more JUNO awards than any other artist)

Juno Sole

The shoe collection is enhanced with video clips, images and artist bios in case, say, you know nothing about Johnny Reid (guilty). By far, my favourite part of the tour was being instructed by an octogenarian on how to use an iPad. Sonja Bata herself was present, and showed me how to enjoy the "listening station", which allowed visitors to scroll through music by participating artists. "Hear to the shoes," she tells me. Of course, I knew how to use an iPad. I was just being polite.

Juno Sole

This isn't the first time celebrity shoes have visited The Bata Shoe Museum. In fact, a permanent exhibit is dedicated to famous footwear. JUNO Sole just happens to be the largest collection in the museum's history. The exhibition opens today and runs until next November, but if you still happen to miss it, many of the shoes will ultimately be donated to the permanent collection.

Artist photos copyright CARAS/iPhoto Inc. Shoe photos copyright 2010 Bata Shoe Museum. Used with permission.

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