Monday, 29 June 2015

Toa Payoh Town Park





What a charming little park! Visiting here as I waited to meet a friend I was delightfully surprised with this park, situated just by the busy road, opposite the enormous bus station and next to the sport complex and swimming pool, but what an idyllic find, why had a never investigated before!




Opened in 1973 it was then known as Toa Payoh Garden Park, until it was temporarily closed in 1999, when part of it was used as a bus station whilst the new bus interchange was built across the road. It reopened in 2002 under the new name of Toa Payoh Town Park. 

It covers 4.8 hectares with gazebos, fountains, waterfalls and wisteria arches. However the two predominant features are the Observation Tower and large meandering 0.8 hectare lake. 




A path surrounds the lake with small islands and picturesque ornamental Chinese style arched bridges. Larger white 70s style hexagonal blocks make up larger bridges and walkways, both have a 70s feel with a hint of Chinese. Edged with weeping willows, bottle brush trees, reeds, bull rushes and creepers. The whole park has a tranquil feel of parks I visited in Hong Kong. A Chinese peaceful zen like park, aided in this feel with the aunties and uncles partaking in their tai chi first thing in the morning. The trees were full of bird song, with mynah birds squabbling and the lake full of fish and the ever present turtles. With damsel and dragon flies darting around you can clearly see why the park was once a popular venue for wedding photographs. 




The other dominant feature, as mentioned, is the futuristic 25 metre (75 foot) tall observation tower. The tower is one of four such observation towers in Singapore that were built between 1969 and 1975. These towers were built in a futuristic, space age style, popular in that era. They take their design ideas from observation towers in Brussels, New York, Osaka and Montreal. The four observation towers in Singapore are found at 

Toa Payoh 




Seletar




Jurong Hill




Chinese Garden




The tower at Toa Payoh was completed and opened in time for the SEAP Games in September 1974 and the athletes were housed next to the garden. 

Sadly the observation tower although conserved in 2009 was closed in 2011, which is a shame as I would have liked to climb and view the park and the area from above. The tower is however dwarfed by the surrounding HDBs and condos, where many of my friends live.