Old World Shoes: A Celebration of Independent Shoe and Shoe Repair Stores of Toronto
Jan 21
Feb 19 2022
exhibition in-person

‘Old World Shoes’ is a documentary project by Toronto photographer Henry VanderSpek that celebrates older and independent shoe and shoe repair stores of Toronto. In late 2017 Henry found himself wondering whether anyone celebrates all that a small business brings to a community when they close after many decades of service. As a way of exploring this question he focused on businesses that always intrigued him: independent shoe and shoe repair stores. Henry interviewed owners of 21 businesses, encountering not only incredible design, craftsmanship and style—but also wonderful stories of immigration, discovering one’s vocation, multi-generational family businesses, friendships built over coffee and conversation and, of course, customers thrilled by stunning repair jobs and joyful at finding the perfect footwear. The exhibition consists of images, text excerpts of interviews and links to videos of business owners. Come step inside Capri Shoes on Dundas Street West and discover ‘Old World Shoes’.

‘Old World Shoes’ was featured on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, CBC TV’s Toronto News and by the Bata Shoe Museum.


Meet three talented artists who work in making, designing or teaching others how to make their own shoes! Join Emmanuel Farré of Farré by Emmanuel, Jennifer Allison of Art & Sole Academy and Peter Feeney of Peter Feeney Bespoke Footwear as they each share about their craft and what influences their design choices. Click below to join what is sure to be a very enjoyable lunchtime talk on Thursday January 27 from 12:00 – 1:00pm.


Post-Festival Exhibition Hours:
Tuesday-Friday: 9:30am-6pm
Saturday: 9:30am-4pm
Sunday, Monday: Closed

*or by appointment


Antonietta Di Santo and Paola Di Santo of Capri Shoes. Henry VanderSpek and Culture Snap Photography (documentary photographer and creator of Old World Shoes). Video editors: Manuel Garcia, Lucas Hawkins, Christian Jacobson and Craig Thomson. Logo Design: Nancy Baltazar. Graphic Design: SJ Kim.



Who should visitors contact with questions regarding accessibility?
Paola Di Santo
Can people get to the venue using accessible transit?
A pair of metal shoe forms on a workbench at Nick's Custom Boots and Shoe Repair (167 Dupont Street, Toronto).
Lily Spagnuolo holds a pair of shoes made by her father, the founder of Dino Shoes (1285 St. Clair Avenue West) which closed in 2019.
Emmanuel Farré applies a patina onto handmade shoes sold at his store, Farré by Emmanuel (55 Avenue Road, Toronto).
Antonietta Di Santo of Capri Shoes (820 Dundas Street West, Toronto). On the counter are tools her husband used to make and repair shoes, as well as cups of coffee that customers are often welcomed with.
George Aslanidis holds a pair of boots he made in front of his store, Yiorgos the Cobbler (3 Dorval Road, Toronto).
Lorena Agolli works on a pair of shoes in her store, Sole Survivor (formerly in Kensington Market, now at 46 Noble Street, Toronto).