Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

As promised last night, I’m sharing with you one of the gems of Toronto in the summer.

A goal of mine for 2011 is to make a list of free events in the city and to take advantage of them. I’ve been fluttering around websites, and toying with the idea of checking out the ROM and AGO during their free days (Wednesday night) but as I walked down King St. last week I knew I would be taking part in a journey I would not soon forget.

Something inside me told me I should follow it.

It led me to a place that was so familiar, a park that I walk by on the regular. Nothing extraordinary here.

I settled in, with a blanket and a best friend, ready to see what was in store.

A gust of wind overtook us, and before we knew it everything seemed a bit clearer, with flashes of Technicolor.

It really was no miracle. What happened was just this. The wind began to switch, the house to pitch. And suddenly the hinges started to unhitch. Just then, the witch, to satisfy an itch, went flying on her broomstick thumbing for a hitch.

Oh yes, the Wizard of Oz. The first of nine Wednesday features of TIFF in the Park. Last summer they featured classics, and I got to swoon romantic with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca. This summer I get to tap my toes and sing along to a July and August full of musicals.

We swayed along as Dorothy made new friends in the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion and brought them along in her journey to find the Wizard.

We wished secretly and desperately hoped that the Wizard was a wizard that would serve so they were sure to get a brain, a heart, a home, the nerve.

Fun and entertaining, this timeless movie has a fantastic lesson if you are looking to learn: Everything that you need already is in you; the outlook you take and the belief you have in yourself will make you realize your full potential. Or something grand and eloquent like that!

Some of my favourite quotes courtesy of IMDB:

Wizard of Oz: Frightened? Child, you’re talking to a man who’s laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe… I was petrified.

Wicked Witch of the West: Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of spears! Thought you were pretty foxy, didn’t you?

Wicked Witch of the West: Going so soon? I wouldn’t hear of it. Why my little party’s just beginning.

Wizard of Oz: As for you, my galvanized friend, you want a heart. You don’t know how lucky you are not to have one. Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.

Scarecrow: I don’t know… But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking… don’t they?

So close your eyes and make a wish, and maybe I will run into you in the park one Wednesday?

TIFF in the Park (@ David Pecaut Square):
*times are dependent on sunset. July = 9 p.m., August = 8:30 p.m. approximately.

July 13 – The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
July 20 – Funny Girl
July 27 – Sound of Music
August 3 – Jagte Raho
August 10 – Fiddler of the Roof
August 17 – Singin’ in the Rain
August 24 – The Muppet Movie
August 31 – Mary Poppins

Love, your very own Wicked Witch