Canada's national robotic competition has been called off because of a dying interest in building robots, according to the event's president.

Clarification | As reported here, Canada's national robotic competition was cancelled. The competition was one part of a larger event called "Robots Rule" held at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto on Nov. 16, 2011.  All other activities and demonstrations associated with "Robots Rule" were well attended and proceeded as scheduled.

Steve Jones said attendance to this weekend's competition, which was scheduled to take place in Toronto at the Ontario Science Centre, was going to be down to half its normal number.

"Kids aren't interested what's inside the robot, what's inside the box, what's inside the IT chip," said Jones, who heads the Canadian National Robot Games.

"It's very sad. That's part of my frustration. I don't know what it would take me now to spark that interest."

Jones also said he believes children are now more interested in the instant gratification of playing with a new toy instead of building toys or models.

Ottawa family distraught over cancelled games

Aaron Ramsey and his three children, who all build robots, found out about the cancellation last month. They had already rewired their robots and were set to make the drive down to Toronto.


Robot fighting champion Aaron Ramsey kneels in his Ottawa living room with a "mini sumo fighting" ring full of robots. ((Ashley Burke/CBC))

Ramsey was also set to defend his national championship in the robot competition called "mini sumo fighting."

"My kids were incredibly disappointed. They really wanted to go," said Ramsey, who also runs Ottawa's Robot Enthusiast Club.

He said the local interest is actually growing, not dwindling, with 350 members. Ramsey also recruits children through robot workshops.

"Introducing kids to that early on gets them curious and interested, and turns them into makers rather than people that are just consumers," he said, adding he hopes to start his own robot competition this summer.

The national event's president said he hopes interest in the event will recharge next year and in future years.

With files from the CBC's Ashley Burke