Heirloom Seed Sanctuary

An heirloom seed is seed treasured by people who love the names, history, flavour, fragrance and feel of what plants share with them. Saved seeds often become best friends, part of the family. Seeds from the collection are not for sale, but are shared at Seedy Saturday as available.

Cate Henderson
613-544-4525 ext.124 Fax: 613-531-4525
Office hours change due to seasonal needs. Please leave a message or email for Cate to respond to.

Purpose: to preserve open-pollinated seed so that it may be saved; to grow, harvest, sort and store seed as organically as possible at the Providence Motherhouse property in downtown Kingston, Ontario.

Location: part of the Motherhouse property of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in the centre of Kingston, Ontario.

Facilities: a glass greenhouse to propagate seedlings, gardens, and part of a barn beautifully refurbished for seed sorting, storage and activities.

Activities: The Heirloom Seed Sanctuary maintains a “living” local heirloom seed collection, hosts a webinar series to teach seed saving skills, celebrates seasonal change at Equinoxes and Solstices and sponsors Kingston Seedy Saturday.  Seeds from the collection are not for sale, but are shared at Seedy Saturday as available.

How we began saving seeds: Carol and Robert Mouck began working to establish the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary with the Sisters in 1999. They worked with about 400 varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs they had grown and saved from Foxfire Farm in Napanee, Ontario since 1974.

People involved: Heirloom Seed Sanctuary gardener and seed saver Cate Henderson was hired in 2008 and now oversees the activities and volunteers that help with continuing the seed saving tradition. Sr. Alda Brady and Sr. Shirley Morris are often to be found working in the gardens, greenhouse and barn, and a loyal committee of Sisters meets in an advisory capacity each month. Recently the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary has joined the CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) Kingston network to offer an internship to a young person interested in learning about seed saving and sustainability.

Recognition of nomination, Sisters of Providence Seed Sanctuary. Sustainable Kingston. Awarded to an organization or business in Kingston who has managed to embed one or more of Sustainable Kingston's Six Priority Areas into its operations in 2016.

Contact Us

Providence Motherhouse

1200 Princess Street, P.O. Box 427
Kingston, Ontario, K7L 4W4


For a map and more contacts please visit the contact page