About us

Our story

At St. Williams Nursery & Ecology Centre, we’re a dedicated conservation nursery and ecological restoration provider in Ontario. Our team of restoration scientists and practitioners, nursery growers, and technical experts support and supply a wide variety of conservation initiatives. We now operate the largest native plant nursery in Ontario, which is located on the site of Canada’s first forestry station and tree seedling nursery established in 1908.

Our vision

At St. Williams Nursery & Ecology Centre, we see a future where the health of our economies, cultures, and natural environments co-exist in a sustainable and mutually beneficial way. People and nature thriving together has been and will always be a big inspiration for our business.

Our mission

At the heart of everything we do, we aim to:

  • Provide quality, ecologically appropriate native plants to support biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration throughout the province 
  • Lead by example as a science-based consultancy and supplier to ensure the highest quality of products and services to safeguard native species and their habitats
  • Create sustainable, economic opportunities by working with our partners to advance Ontario’s native plant industry in support of biodiversity conservation
  • Educate the public about the beauty, utility, and importance of indigenous plants and natural systems for conserving a healthy planet
  • Lead in the conservation of natural systems by donating a portion of our profits to support ecological restoration and conservation projects

What we do

We operate our native plant nursery as a wholesale provider and offer professional ecological restoration services. Our services range from project management and implementation, custom seed collecting, contract growing, monitoring, and maintenance to support ecological restoration and biodiversity conservation projects. At our nursery, we produce a wide variety of Ontario native wild type plants in stock formats including bareroot, container stock, and as seed mixes. We grow plants from seed that our team of ecologists and seed specialists sustainably collect and manage.

We collect seed from wild plant populations around the province to produce source-identified native plants and scale in our nursery facility. To meet increasing demand, we often work with our partners and clients to custom collect and propagate species for specific biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration projects. We’re committed to using ethical and sustainable methods to protect and conserve the biodiversity, especially for vulnerable or sensitive populations. We adhere to the Native Plants Guidelines for Commercial Native Plant Growers of the North American Native Plant Society and follow the Society of Ecological Restoration guidelines for wild seed collection. 

We’re always interested in working with more conservation-minded partners to achieve a sustainable supply of appropriate native plants and seed to protect Ontario’s natural biodiversity.

About our nursery

Our nursery is based in St. Williams in Norfolk County, which is in the heart of southwestern Ontario’s Carolinian Life Zone. Our nursery facilities include some 6 acres of modern greenhouses and more than 250 acres of irrigated production fields. We also operate a modern seed cleaning and processing plant as well as seed lab facilities for testing seed viability and quality inhouse. We've invested millions of dollars to develop our extensive fleet of specialized planting, harvesting and processing equipment necessary to produce significant quantities of high quality native plants and seeds.