All aboard for Steel Rail Sessions 2013


Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications is proud to announce that it will be organizing this year’s Steel Rail Sessions.

Steel Rail Sessions is best described as Nuit Blanche on a train. People hop aboard the train to St. Jacobs to enjoy art, music, food and drink while hanging out with 250 of their closest friends.

After three years, organizers Hilary Abel and Paul McGough were ready to pass the torch on to a new organizer. “For some reason, Steel Rails has always felt to me, like it belonged to the community,” said Abel. “So I have always viewed myself as something of a ‘guardian’ of the event – and not the owner. This transition to a new custodian feels like the perfect way for the event to evolve, and continue to reflect the awesomeness of KW!”

For WLUSP, this was the perfect opportunity to continue its outreach into the community after the launch of the Cord Community Edition in October. “For years WLU Student Publications has been using the talent of our staff and volunteers to bring attention to some of the great opportunities this community has to offer,” said Bryn Ossington, executive director of WLUSP and Cord Community publisher. “We are thrilled to be able to take a leading role in this awesome event to further highlight the tremendous talent and cultural opportunities that exist in this community.”

Ossington and Hayley Watson, Editor-in-Chief of the Cord Community Edition, will take key roles in organizing Steel Rail Sessions 2013, along with Alison Leonard, incoming President of WLUSP.

“I think that WLUSP has a lot of the same values that RQ magazine does,” said Abel. “[The organization] loves the community, it loves sharing information that might go unnoticed, and it wants to celebrate all the incredible (but slightly hidden) creators we have here in Waterloo Region. I’m really looking forward to working with WLUSP on Steel Rails 2013, and actually get goosebumps when I start to think about the possibilities this partnership brings.”

Details about the event will be released in the coming weeks. For updates, please visit


So, are you guys selling out Steel Rails?

Heck no. We love Steel Rails and everything it stands for. We’re completely committed to the vision that Hilary and Paul started and we’re excited to continue it. But we’re also excited to put our own spin on the event. Steel Rails changes every year, and with our diverse backgrounds and event organizing experience, we know it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Are Hilary and Paul still going to be involved?

Absolutely! WLUSP is going to be primary organizer, but Hilary and Paul will be staying on as advisers to help us out. We’re really looking forward to working with them, and they’re really looking forward to finally being able to enjoy Steel Rails as guests!

What is the Cord Community Edition and WLUSP?

The Cord Community Edition launched in October 2012 to provide innovative news coverage for Waterloo Region. Our mandate is to encourage community engagement through our paper by producing high quality and thought provoking content. Our award winning team is also dedicated to producing innovative design, photography and online features.

Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications is a volunteer-based, not-for-profit media group based out of Wilfrid Laurier University. The Laurier student body makes up our membership and pays fees levied through the university, which go towards running our publications, websites and online radio station.

Our sister publications and organizations include The Cord Weekly, The Blueprint, The Sputnik (Laurier Brantford Campus), The Keystone, Radio Laurier and Laurier Student Polls.

“Student” publications? Is this becoming a student event?

This is an event for everyone, from a 1st year student at WLU to your 86-year-old grandma. We’re going to make Steel Rail Sessions 2013 a welcoming and engaging event where anyone can come party!

So, who are you guys?

Bryn Ossington is the Executive Director of WLUSP and the publisher of the Cord Community Edition. A resident of Kitchener-Waterloo for 10 years Bryn has worked and volunteered for a number of non-profits in the region. Recently he served as the national conference and 75th anniversary coordinator for the Canadian University Press. In his role as WLUSP Executive Director Bryn works to develop various media products and volunteer opportunities for the organization.

Allison Leonard is the incoming president of WLUSP. She has recently completed the Journalism program at Laurier’s Brantford campus. She’s been involved with Brantford’s community-focused media scene for three years and is excited to transfer her skills to Kitchener-Waterloo as President and Publisher of WLU Student Publications. Allison specializes in municipal and Six Nations feature writing.

Hayley Watson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Cord Community Edition. She comes to WLUSP from Windsor, Ontario where she was the Arts Editor of the Lance, Windsor’s campus and community paper. She’s lived all over southern Ontario, traveled over a good chunk of North America and Europe, studied a whole lot of subjects (including law – long story), and gotten involved in whole bunch of crazy projects, including curating an socialist art show, doing street theatre and trying out for roller derby in the name of journalism. She’s a big community lover, and is really happy to call K-W her latest home. Find her online at @HG_Watson.

When are you going to release more details about Steel Rail Sessions 2013?

We plan on releasing the date and ticketing information within the next few weeks. We’ll also be putting together a website where you can get all the updates and details on Steel Rails. That said, we’ll be keeping much of what you’ll see on the train under wraps until you actually show up! We have lots of little surprises planned.

I’m an artist/musician/cool person who wants to make art on Steel Rails. Who do I pitch my idea to?

You can email Bryn ( or HG ( with a brief overview of what you’d like to do. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that we’ll take the idea due to demand. However, WLUSP is always looking for folks to perform at events we have throughout the year for the Cord Community Edition and our sister publications. We’ll be sure to keep you in mind!

I’d like to volunteer to help out with Steel Rails! How do I do that?

Easy! You can email Bryn ( or HG ( and let us know how you’d like to help out.

Who do I talk to about sponsorship and advertising opportunities?

You can reach our advertising manager Angela at

For other inquiries contact:

Hayley Watson
519 884-0710 x 3563