The Boneyard becomes a photographer’s dream setting in Eastern Ontario


CARDINAL, ONT. – A junkyard in eastern Ontario is gaining popularity among photographers, with rusty classics providing the perfect backdrop for stunning photos.

Called The Boneyard, owner Joe Martelle loves to take you on the trails, contemplate the vestiges of the past.

“It’s a 68 ranchero,” Martelle said, as he passed a car along one of the trails.

“We never intended it to be an art center, it just developed organically.”

Over 400 cars can be found on approximately 40 acres of land at The Boneyard in Cardinal, Ontario, 90 kilometers south of Ottawa. Some missing parts, others swallowed up by their environment.

“We’re kind of like a steward of history here, but we’re doing it in a different way,” Martelle said. “It’s really interesting to see a 23 year old photographer come here and stand next to a 70 year old car, and actually get the lines, get the story and appreciate what happened before and the the way cars used to be. “

According to Martelle’s daughter, Kirsha Hutchcraft, social media and marketing manager at The Boneyard, it all started with her grandfather.

“It’s been in the family for several years,” Hutchcroft said. “It started, kind of happened organically, the old car guys come over to see the classic cars, take out parts, they took the pictures, and it kind of spread.”

The site is still a working junkyard, and open for people to come and pick up the parts they need on older vehicles.

“It has always been sort of set up in fields with trails, but now we have extended it further,” added Hutchcroft. “(We’ve) kept them better, adding new ones so you can see even more, because there are cars that have been around for decades that you couldn’t see before. It’s really neat.

“Some have trees growing inside and inside because they’ve been there for so long. And it’s really an interesting experience.”

For Ottawa photographer Garry Black, this is one of his favorite places.

“Most auto demolition sites, cars are crammed into parking lots. Here, it’s like Joe has them placed around and they’re on display like a work of art,” Black said. “It shows real beauty.”

Black’s ran photography classes on the site and even brought down models for photoshoots on and around the old clunkers.

“It depends on the workshop or the topic we are dealing with,” added Black. “Sometimes people go on their own and I’ll find them and other times all kinds of groups together and give composition and lighting lessons.

“I don’t think I even covered half of this area, but the number of times I’ve been here I’ve been stuck in the first field and it’s just amazing.”

Garry Black

“Some of the photos that come out of here are just phenomenal,” Martelle said. “The things that artists can find art in and lines in, and we walk past a rusty, broken old car and how they can take a very small part of it and approach it and just give this .. . piece of paint and metal just new life, new shape and new imagination. It’s just breathtaking. “

Once the word got out the phone kept ringing with photographers wanting to verify it. But being an active heist, the team had to check the dates of a few.

“We decided it would be best if we sort of had a single day, sort of a quarter throughout the year for the photographers to come in so everyone could come at the same time,” Hutchcraft said. .

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted these dates in 2020, and the team is preparing to welcome photographers again this summer.

“We don’t charge any entrance fees for the photography,” Martelle said. “We recommend and strongly suggest photographers bring non-perishable food or cash for the local food bank which we collect and deliver to the food bank.”

“The last event we did here (in 2019), we had an eight foot truck box full of food and we also had an envelope with a good amount of cash that we dropped off at the South Grenville food bank. », Added Martelle. .

Details on upcoming events are available at The Boneyard Facebook page or to

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