[email protected]

Interactive STEM exhibit at Canada's largest fair, the Canadian National Exhibition.

Taking our passion for STEM education and youth education programs and bringing them to the big stage! The CNE has the largest foot traffic and total attendance of any fair in Canada. This makes it perfect for educating the public about STEM, all while running the largest publically attended FIRST® Robotics Competition Off-Season!

Since 2018, [email protected] has been an ongoing project and close relationship between the CNE, OT Robotics, FIRST Robotics Canada, and Sinn Development. Taking over a substantial portion of Hall F in the Enercare® Centre, we have developed and executed the event management, floorplan layout, scheduling, and even volunteer management! Utilizing our extensive experience in the STEM education sector through our experience with FIRST®, we applied it to create a 3 day long FRC Off-Season Competition with a unique structure to ensure that the public could see the full structure of an FRC event in one day, instead of the standard 2-4 day events.

Project Goals

The primary goal of the event was to expand the knowledge and awareness of FIRST® to the general public, as most are unaware of the fast paced, action filled events that take place across the world during March and April each year. In order to do this, we had to change the layout of the normal FRC event so that the public could get as close as safely possible to the action, all while making a lasting impression. To do this, we set up short fencing around the FRC field, allowing the public to get almost as close as the referees! Just like an FRC event, we had the team pits accessible to the public - but this time they were the center of attention allowing the public to talk to any of the teams competing, and ask detailed questions about the robots! No event is complete without trying your own hand at it, so we also created a hands on experience zone, where the public could drive miniature version of the FRC Robots using the same controllers, and drive trains as the real competition robots.

The second goal, was to create a lasting relationship between FIRST Robotics Canada and the CNE. To do this, we had to ensure that the volunteers that staffed the event had an amazing time, as at the heart of FIRST Robotics Canada are its volunteers, whom make or break the events that they put on. Impressing the world class volunteers from FIRST Robotics Canada was no small feat. We are at the CNE after all, so we built into the schedule break periods to ensure that the other activities in the hall wouldn't be drowned out from the excitement and noise of an FRC event. This also was intended to allow the volunteers and teams competing to take a break from the stress and rigours of competition and go enjoy the CNE for all the attractions it has, including the crazy food concotions! Because of the FIRST Robotics Canada was also able to use the [email protected] event to continue their own volunteer role development, where new volunteers can try out various roles without the pressure and stakes of an on season event, while still maintaining the production quality and event structure!

Over 35,000 people reached in 2018, and over 55,000 in 2019.

Benchmarks & Performance Metrics

In 2018, we had 18 FRC teams registered, and in 2019 had 24 registered to compete. With 2020 unfortunately cancelled in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we moved online to a digital format, and had over 1000 matches played by over 300 unique players, all while developing a custom software solution to ensure web-availability and tracking of matches played! The goals for the in-person events were a massive success, it was awesome being able to reach over 30,000 people in 2018, and over 55,000 in 2019! The COVID-19 pandemic did not put a stop to [email protected], as we're still planning for the case where we can have a public attendance event in the late summer if safe, and permitted by the City of Toronto!

Since 2018, we've expanded upon the competition each year, either adding more teams, or expanding the options offered to attendees. Activities have included a Can-CODE coding lesson booth, minibot driving zone, FLL Table/LEGO build zone, and more! Ensuring that year over year attendees aren't bored by the content is ensured thanks to the annual FRC game being unique and brand new at kickoff each year.

  • Introduced STEM education via FRC Off-Season to over 85,000 people.
  • Created the largest public attendance FRC Off-Season.
  • Year over year growth, and continuing the relationship between FIRST Robotics Canada and the Canadian National Exhibition.