Singapore to Recreate Historical Gardens at Fort Canning Park

Singapore, culture, nature

Three gardens will be recreated as part of heritage landscapes at Fort Canning Park, one of Singapore most historical areas in the city centre.

Three historical gardens will be recreated as part of efforts to restore the rich heritage of Fort Canning Park and its surroundings. The three gardens within and around Fort Canning Park make up the heritage landscapes of Fort Canning Hill, and include Singapore’s first botanic garden.

The National Parks Board (NParks) will create these gardens as part of sensitive enhancements to Fort Canning Park to emphasise Fort Canning’s historical features. Enhancements will be accompanied by the introduction of a greater variety of education and outreach programmes, and enhanced accessibility to the park.

Fort Canning Centre will also be repurposed as a gallery for visitors to learn more about the history of the hill and its surroundings. As one of Singapore’s two National Parks, Fort Canning Park is deeply rooted in history, from the time of the 14th century kings to the founding of modern Singapore. The enhancements will highlight the significance of Fort Canning Hill and retrace the history of Singapore across the 14th, 19th and 20th centuries.

The heritage landscapes of Fort Canning Hill and its surroundings will be restored and weaved seamlessly into Fort Canning Park with the creation of three gardens, namely the Royal Garden, the First Botanic Garden, and Jubilee Park.

The First Botanic Garden, which was established by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1822 to also serve as an experimental garden, will extend from Fort Canning Park onto the streetscapes of roads bounded by Hill Street, Victoria Street, Bras Basah Road, Handy Road and Canning Rise.

As part of the First Botanic Garden, a large part of Armenian Street will be pedestrianised and turned into a park featuring plants that were introduced as economic crops for the spice trade, food and horticulture. Economic crops such as nutmeg were cultivated in the First Botanic Garden before they were propagated across Singapore in the 1800s.

The new park at Armenian Street is part of a multi-agency effort by URA, NParks, PUB, LTA, NHB and NAC in close collaboration with stakeholders within the vicinity to create new vibrant public spaces that visitors can enjoy. The new park at Armenian Street and wider sidewalks along Coleman Street will also enable visitors to walk comfortably from Armenian Street to Civic District, linking Fort Canning Park, Bras Basah.Bugis and the Civic District together into an expanded arts, cultural and heritage district.

NParks is also planning a greater variety of education and outreach programmes, including re-curation of existing heritage trails of the 14th and 19th centuries. These trails will be enhanced to interpret the rich history of Fort Canning Park and feature new nodes.  The 14th century trail will feature the Forbidden Spring or Pancur Larangan which is believed to be the bathing site of the royals. The refreshed 19th century trail will feature the restored Raffles Garden and Farquhar Garden, which will showcase plants collected and documented by Sir Stamford Raffles and Singapore’s First Resident William Farquhar through their botanical explorations.

“Jubilee Park” will be restored where the King George V Jubilee Park was originally located at the junction of River Valley Road and Clemenceau Avenue. The park will avail more outdoor family-friendly venues for arts and culture activities in a garden setting. New amenities will include play features, a landscaped theatre and an event lawn.