Bed bugs infesting Toronto festival site

Pest control summoned to main screenings venue

TORONTO -- The Toronto International Film Festival is already buzzing with more than word-of-mouth.

Blood-sucking bed bugs now threaten to swarm the Sept. 9-19 event.

TIFF co-director Cameron Bailey on Monday tweeted about a pesky infestation at a the Scotiabank Theatre, the main venue for press/industry screenings at the fest.

"Before bed bugs becomes today's meme: We're on it, we're talking to Cineplex and are planning for an itch-free (festival)," Bailey said after pest control was apparently summoned to the rescue.

A long and hot summer in Toronto has led to a citywide fight with the resilient beasties.

Executives at the Cineplex Galaxy exhibition chain, which runs Scotiabank Theatre and is a key partner for the festival, were not available for comment at press time.

A spokesman for Cineplex Entertainment, which runs the Scotiabank Theatre, said the exhibitor is investigating a report received early Monday "from a guest who believes they were bitten by bed bugs at our Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto."

The spokesman added that Cineplex Entertainment will take all steps to address the issue as "the safety and security of our guests and staff are our No. 1 concern."