Invite to US teams to attend Waterloo Regional

Hi everyone,
I would like to officially extend an invitation to any U.S. team to come to Canada and compete in the Waterloo regional. We are currently sitting with only 6 teams registered, and would really like to see some of our American counterparts here in Waterloo.
I have attended the Waterloo Regional since it started in 2005, and every year it has proven to be a very exciting and competitive regional (last year we set a new high score which I don’t think was ever broken).

As an added incentive, the American dollar now goes farther here in Canada, so you may save some money on hotels, etc.

Special thanks to Team 68 for continually coming from MI to show support for our regional.

Keep this is mind when you register for your second events today!

As of this morning, the US dollar is worth $1.27 Canadian. That would account for a significant savings for any American team wishing to make the trip to the Waterloo.

For any teams who have concerns about additional shipping costs, our local planning committee in conjunction with our regional director will work with your team to ensure that the costs of brokerage and duty will be minimized.

Going into its 5th year, the Waterloo Regional has always been one of the most interesting an dynamic events in all FIRST. Known for its intimate atmosphere on the campus of the University of Waterloo, this regional always succeeds in providing great value and a great experience for the teams who attend. I encourage everyone to come check it out.

Karthik, will you and Paul be MC’ing again?

We’ve never been to the Waterloo Regional, but Team 48 is very familiar with border crossings, international shipping, and other logistical affairs in attending Canadian regional events. If any are on the fence and would like more information, feel free to PM me.

For those who might be concerned about land crossing border regulations and the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), don’t be. Here are a few links to the current guidelines, which are quite similar to what our team has done for its land crossing trips to the Canadian/Greater Toronto Regional:

Land/Sea Travel

  • U.S. citizens ages 19 and older
    must present documentation that proves both identity and citizenship. Identification documents must include a photo, name and date of birth [driver’s license and birth certificate, or simply a passport are valid documents]. View the complete list of acceptable documents at for land travel and sea travel.*]Children ages 18 and under will only be required to present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.
    The Canadians really know how to organize and stage exceedingly well-run events every year. There are many things to do and to see both in the regional cities as well as sites such as Niagara Falls. We highly recommend you consider competing up north.

For those who watched the webcast last year you know that Karthik and Paul (hope you are back again Paul) know how to MC a fun event, crazy things tend to happen at the Waterloo Regional…

But in all seriousness its been my favorite regional the last three years, and I’m excited to bring a new rookie team with me this year to what I believe is one of the best regionals in FIRST. There really is a great community of volunteers and teams that make this regional special, I hope more American teams decide to join us this year.

Yup, Paul and I will be back as Game Announcer and MC. Get your popcorn ready.

I’m not an economics major, but the Canadian dollar has dropped VERY quickly, and the prices haven’t had a chance to adjust yet. For Americans, this is THE best time I’ve seen, possibly in my entire life, to do some cross border shopping.

That said, the Waterloo Regional has got to be some of the best bang for your buck around for US teams. 25% more purchasing power (prices here are about the same face-value CDN vs. US), combined with the fact that it is a small regional make this a GREAT sell. You’re paying less for an excellent team to award/qualifier ratios, and a large number of matches, that is of course if things like that are a priority to you or your team :smiley: .

On top of that, Waterloo is an extremely well run event, and although it isn’t as big as the GTR, I would definitely argue that gameplay at Waterloo is a much more fulfilling experience.

Can’t wait!

I’ve been looking into getting our team to attend Waterloo, but need some more economic advice before I can know if the team will want to go.
What hotels have teams traditionally stayed in at Waterloo, and do you know what the going rate usually is per night?

The hard part is Waterloo is competing with it’s Marcia to it’s Jan aka the Greater Toronto Regional which has grown over the years into a bigtime regional.
That’s tough compete with.

This link lists a bunch of hotels/motels in Kitchener/Waterloo.

I have stayed in the Howard Johnson Hotel and in the Knights Inn (HoJo is a better hotel). I can’t remember what we paid in the past, but the website shows a range of some room pricings.

For any team worried about crossing the border I know it can kind of seem overwhelming initially, but as Karthik said earlier FIRST Canada is willing and able to help however they can, and I got two robots back and forth across the border last year a few times and for the most part it is straightforward.

Any questions/concerns I’m willing to help out as well.

GTR is a nice event, but personally I’ve always liked Waterloo better. More matches, better teams, and a friendlier, closer atmosphere.

FRC 931 attended the Waterloo Regional a couple of years ago, and it was a blast!

Waterloo’s advantages include lots of enthusiasm, lots of noise, a great volunteer crew, a cozy-but-comfortable venue, and one of the best emcees to be found at any FRC event.

We highly recommend this event – for us the trip was long, but worth it. For 2009 we’ll be attending Kansas City and St. Louis, but we definitely will keep Waterloo on our short list for future seasons. :slight_smile:


Many teams have stayed at the Destination Inn in Waterloo. It is a 5 minute drive from the venue, and every year we’ve been there, it’s been teeming with FRC teams. It’s popular. Team 188 has booked there since Waterloo first started.

They’ve gone through extensive renovations over the past year, so they may no longer be as good of a deal as they once were. So if you call for a quote, and it seems expensive, don’t stop and try elsewhere.

For anyone who’s on the fence over whether or not to attend the Waterloo Regional, I figured I’d throw in another endorsement, for what it counts.

I haven’t missed one of these yet, and wouldn’t want to: from a scrappy, competitive first-year regional to an ever more smoothly-run veteran event - I’ve loved every year. I can all but guarantee an intense, intimate venue and an engrossing event from start to finish.

I remember having a great time teaming up with a few American teams at Waterloo in the past couple years, and the more the better: keeps the same Canadian teams from beating up on each other too much, right?

Thanks B-Morris and Shawn for your help. Unfortunately, our budget was a lot tighter than it appeared and it looks like there’s next to no chance of us going to a second regional this year. :frowning:
Next year, though, I’ll recommend to my team putting Waterloo right at the top of the short list, especially if our previous favorite Boston continues to be in week 2.

Maybe Paul can bring his team along with him? 217 isn’t competing at a Michigan district Waterloo week. 3 straight weeks of competitions - no sweat, eh? :stuck_out_tongue:

I know at least a few Michigan FRC teams have registered for out of state events (I believe one at Buckeye in Week 1 and two at Pittsburgh in Week 3 - there may be more at other non-MI regionals), so there is a precedent. As far as I know, no one has erected any outposts to stop MI FRC teams from crossing your state borders, so maybe Waterloo would work for some MI teams?

There are two registered for WI as well, 141 and 1502.

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Since this thread doesn’t really need any more FIRST star power endorsing hehe, I figure I would throw in the perspective of a college mentor who’s been away from the game for a year. Having been away, I can safely say that the regional I look most forward to attending is going to be Waterloo.

The GTR is historic and always a good time, but its something about the PAC in Waterloo, when it actually gets crowded to the rafters and people are yelling and screaming for their teams, way more for them than I’m sure any other team besides the UW Badminton team :wink: gets to hear in the PAC.

Seriously though, for a ton of real fun in a regional that isnt so cavernous and still has the magic of an intimate FIRST event, for the best and most welcoming teams, volunteers, committee members and FANS of FIRST, head to Waterloo this year, I know I will be!

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has so enthusiastically given support of the regional on this thread.
Now, the Waterloo regional stands at 9 teams registered and we desperately need teams to ensure that we can continue hosting this FRC event. Open registration starts Nov. 6th, so give some thought to coming to Waterloo.

Any team trying to decide on a second event, Waterloo is for you!
Hope to see some of you there!

I’ve been wanting to go to waterloo for a few years now, but i can’t drag myself up to canada for some reason, cash is tight so i can’t come this year… and i want to go to the Olympics in Vancover next year so that puts Waterloo and GTR on wait until 2011 for me

another issue thats came up unlike previous years, you now DO need a passport to get into Canada, before, all you needed was a U.S. Birth Certificate or some ofther form of documantation telling the border officals that you were a U.S. Citizen.

I was actually going to go up to Toronto for something else next weekend, until i realized the passport issue which mine is expired…

Waterloo is always fun to watch on the webcast, it’s the most fun i’ve had watching a webcast of any FIRST event. if you cannot make it to the regional, make sure you watch Karthik and Paul do their MCing (pushups anyone). and you WILL want to go the next year.

plus, my favorite elimination match from 2007 was played on the field at waterloo: (qf 2.4, not on TBA, but i will hunt it down from my computer and post a link later)

Strictly speaking, for crossings by land, for American or Canadian citizens entering Canada, proof of citizenship and identity (e.g. with a birth certificate and driver’s licence) are required. If exiting from Canada to the U.S. via land before June 1, 2009, the same documents are sufficient for Canadian and U.S. citizens. (After that date, the WHTI requirements come into full force, and passports or other approved documents will be required for entry into the U.S…)

The websites of the (404 - Page Not Found) and the Canada Border Services Agency provide a more comprehensive set of details. Consult those sites for the most reliable information on this subject.

So that might actually mean that you can enter Canada (and return to the U.S.) legally, in the near future.