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According to the Canadian-based company that bears his name: Thomas J. Bata, also known as “shoemaker to the world” has died. The Czech-born Bata, fled Europe in 1939 and emigrated to Canada where he also took the Bata Shoe Company, the firm that his father had launched in 1894 and began anew. In Batawa, Ontario, (the town was named after the famous entrepreneur and philanthropist), Bata, the son, transformed the family business of cobblers into a global company with more than 5,000 retail shops in 50 countries and more than 40,000 employees.