Toronto: Thomas Bata, owner of global shoe corporation, a household name in India that bears his name, died in Toronto at the age of 93.
A spokesperson of Bata Shoe Museum, said Bata died early Monday morning in Sunnybrook Hospital only weeks before his 94th birthday.
She did not give cause of his death. She said a company statement will be issued later. Funeral arrangements were not immediately known. Bata is survived by his wife, Sonja, a son and three daughters.
Canada was where he began his shoe journey
Bata came to Canada to make his mark, he had said some years ago. “I wanted to do something where I could say OK, now this enterprise I built on my own. Canada was the one country that I selected for this experiment.”
By 1940, the Batawa plant was in business. And after 1945, when the Czech factories were nationalized by the Communists, the company headquarters was relocated to Toronto under Bata’s leadership. Toronto is home to the Bata Shoe Museum, a four-storey structure with 10,000 shoes.
The company returned to the Czech Republic in 1989, after the Communist regime ended, nearly 100 years after the company was founded in 1894. Thomas G Bata, a grandson of the founder, became chairman of the business in 2001.
Bata’s father, Tomas, a ninth generation cobbler, founded the shoe empire in Zlin in 1894, which later swelled into the giant Bata Shoe Organisation. Thomas Bata ran the shoe company from the 1940s into the 1980s.
“One of the greatest personalities of our time has left,” Czech President Vaclav Klaus said in a statement.