Why is there a Ballet Slipper in Our Collection?

The other day I was in Banting House NHSC’s collection room to begin planning for our Spring 2019 exhibit. While down there I found something I never thought I would find- a pointe shoe. Now, while Banting had many artistic talents, including woodworking and painting, I have not found any sources that point to him being a ballet dancer. So why is there a pointe shoe in our collection? The answer is that Banting House NHSC has a proactive collections management policy. We don’t only collect artifacts from Dr. Banting’s lifetime but also artifacts from the history of our museum and that capture Banting’s continued legacy. This meant that in 2017 we decided to keep a few items that represented how Canada remembered Banting during the Canada 150 celebration. You may still be wondering where ballet fits into all of this.

Pointe shoe in our collection.

The National Ballet of Canada decided to send out a pointe shoe to 175 of the most important places in the nation to celebrate the Canada 150 and the Ballet’s 65th anniversary. This was part of a national social media campaign called “150 Pointes of Canada” that featured images of the shoes in these historic places. The National Ballet decided to send one of the pointe shoes to Banting House NHSC and our curator, Grant, took a photo of it with the Sir Frederick Banting statue. This image was shared widely on the National Ballet of Canada’s social media pages.

Grant, our curator, standing with the pointe shoe and the Sir Frederick Banting statue.


This wasn’t the only thing we collected from the Canada 150. We also have a drink can that featured Banting’s face and a few other cool items. This proactive collecting will ensure that years down the line the future Research Assistants will be able to plan exciting exhibits about how Canada and Banting House NHSC have remembered Banting’s legacy.


This post was written by Rachel Delle Palme, Graduate Research Assistant at
Banting House NHSC. Rachel is currently completing her M.A. in Public History at
Western University.

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