Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Fort Canning Park


Fort Canning Park is bounded by Hill Street, Canning Rise, Clemenceau Avenue, and River Valley Road. The site was once used as the sear of Temasek, a Malay Kingdom, but subsequently, with the founding of Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819, a botanic garden was established in 1822. This is also the site where the governors of Singapore resided until the mid-1800s. Later, the colonial government converted the site into a fort named after Viscount Charles John Canning and until the 1970s was used as a military installation by the British, Japanese and finally, the Singapore Armed Forces. It was renamed Fort Canning Park with the planting of a fruit tree by then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on 1 November 1981. Today, Fort Canning has been converted into a historical park. The park currently occupies an area of 18 ha.

Fort Canning Park is now home to the Registry of Marriages, Hotels, and several attractions like the Keramat Iskandar Shah, the Archaeological Dig and Exhibition, Fort Fate, Fort Canning Green, Spice Garden, ASEAN Sculpture Garden and Fort Canning Centre. Fort Canning Park also houses a reservoir—the Fort Canning Service Reservoir—which is made up of huge reinforced concrete tanks for storage of treated water.

For nature enthusiasts, Fort Canning Park has a butterfly garden, the Princess Pond, and a Spice Garden, as well as several Heritage Trees. Among them is a 36 m tall, 70 year old Rain Tree (Albizia saman) with a girth of 6.5 m, growing near the Keramat Iskandar Syah, and four individuals of the Madras Thorn (Pithecellobium dulce), of which one is the largest known individual in Singapore. The park is also filled with a variety of other plants, many of which are tall, big trees, like the Sepetir (Sindora wallichii), Kedawong (Parkia timoriana), Kapok (Ceiba pentandra) and Terap (Artocarpus elasticus) among many others.

The Spice Garden is a small replica of the original garden Raffles established in 1822 as the first experimental and botanical garden in Singapore. At that time, spices were as valuable as gold among the English, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese. The garden at Fort Canning was planted mainly with Nutmeg (Myristica sp.), Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) and other plants of economic value. Now, this garden contains a variety of local herbs and spices, like the Butterfly Pea (Clitoria ternatea), Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) and Pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius).

Visitors can also spot a range of fauna including squirrels, lizards, butterflies and various species of birds. Some of those that can be spotted here includes the Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis), the Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda), Collared Scops Owl (Otus lempiji) and the Sumatran Flying Dragon (Draco sumatranus).

Getting there

The nearest MRT stations are City Hall, Dhoby Gaut and Bras Basah stations. Fot Canning Park is about a 10 minute walk from any of these stations.

Other Resources

National Parks Board, Singapore. 2012. Fort Canning Park. http://www.nparks.gov.sg/cms/index.php?option=com_visitorsguide&task=parks&id=16&Itemid=73. (Accessed November 2012).

National Library Board Singapore. 2004. Fort Canning Park. http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_8_2004-12-10.html. (Accessed November 2012).


Tan, H.T.W., L.M. Chou, D.C.J. Yeo & P.K.L. Ng, 2010. The Natural Heritage of Singapore (Third Edition). Pearson Education South Asia Pte Ltd. 323 pp.

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