One-Tank Trip for Nov. 25-17
(c) By Jim Fox
The Vikings – those seafaring and raiding Norse warriors who became feared throughout Europe – have returned to Canada after more than 1,000 years.
The largest collection of Viking artifacts from Scandinavia, particularly Norway, is on display for the first time in North America at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto now through April 2.
|The Vikings have landed at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. (ROM composite photo by Marshall Gonz)|
This is said to offer a “fresh perspective” on the ancient culture that counters myths and perceptions about the Norse people and this period of history.
Visitors will be “surprised” by the new and unexpected interpretation of the Vikings, as not only seafaring warriors, but a people who built a rich and varied culture, said Josh Basseches, ROM director and ceo.
Presented by investment dealer Raymond James Ltd., in partnership with the Swedish History Museum, it includes a Canadian perspective to explore their footprint in this country.
|One of the artifacts on display at the ROM exhibition.|
The archeology and history of the Norse on the east coast include objects from L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland; Baffin Island, Nunavut; and the ROM’s Beardmore sword.
They were not fierce raiders “in search of pillage and plunder” here, says Heritage Newfoundland & Labrador.
It was instead a final step in a relatively peaceful expansion of livestock farmers across the North Atlantic, taking in parts of the British Isles, Iceland, Greenland and finally Vinland.
The area of coastal North America called Vinland was explored by the Vikings, where Leif Erikson first landed about five centuries prior to the voyages of Christopher Columbus and John Cabot.
In Europe, the Vikings’ notorious war galleys, known as “long ships,” were fast and maneuverable, perfect for swift hit-and-run raids in sheltered seas and waterways.
|These 35 iron pendants with a fishtail shape are from a Viking hoard find. (Swedish History Museum)|
The exhibition has interactive displays and about 500 original objects from the collections of the Swedish museum.
This includes two reconstructed Viking boats, the Arby and Eik Sande, recreated using Viking processes and materials to show the Norse building techniques and the symbolism and mythology of their ships.
ROM’s exhibit is aimed at “providing a window into the lives of these legendary explorers, artisans and craftspeople whose culture flourished between the eighth and 11th centuries.
Included is the central role women played in Viking society, how religion shaped their thinking and how Viking art and culture shaped Europe and beyond.
The ROM at 100 Queen’s Park and Bloor Street West is open daily (except Dec. 25) from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information on the Vikings, associated programs and tickets: ROM.ca; (416) 586-8000
Just down the street in the Bloor Street Culture Corridor is a most-unusual museum paying tribute to the shoe.
The Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor St. W., has more than 1,000 shoes and related artifacts from a collection numbering of some 13,000.
|The Bata Shoe Museum displays Marilyn Monroe’s “sexy, red leather stiletto-heeled shoes” she wore in 1957 in Montreal. (Jim Fox photo)|
They are closeted in architect Raymond Moriyama’s five-floor structure designed to resemble a shoe box.
It “celebrates the style and function of footwear” in four galleries covering 4,500 years of history.
Along with Elvis’ shoes and pumps worn by Marilyn Monroe is footwear ranging from Chinese bound foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs and glamorous platforms.
This month’s Warm the Sole Sock Drive collecting new socks for those in need gives donors free admission on weekends.
Family Fun weekends are on Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10 at this cool shoebox to explore the galleries and have a fun and educational experience.
|Don’t step on Elvis’ blue suede shoes or these white-and-blue patent loafers worn in the 1970s during his Las Vegas performances. (Barbara Fox photo)|
There is always a drop-in, shoe-themed arts and crafts activity, funky shoes to try on and games to play in the gallery. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4p.m. Sundays.
Holiday Crafts are featured Dec. 17 from noon to 4 p.m. batashoemuseum.ca; (416) 979-7799
Jim Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca