Fort Canning has a long history of catering to important people. Due to its vantage point, many 14th-century Malayan kings have called it home. The hill has also been the site of the Headquarters of the Far East Command Centre, British Army Barracks and the Battlebox, a British command center built in the 1930s. This hill is also where Sir Stamford Raffles made his home in 1823. Now that it’s recently undergone a huge facelift, it’s back with more family-friendly historical elements than ever including the refreshed nine historical gardens.
Fort Canning Park is a venue for celebrations. Its expansive, sprawling lawns play host to concerts, theatre productions and festivals such as Shakespeare in the Park, Ballet Under the Stars, Shakespeare in the Park and Films at the Fort, while weddings, parties and gatherings are a regular sight in the park's venue spaces. Its ancient artefacts are a must-see for history buffs, and its lush greenery and expansive lawns offer a variety of arts, heritage and nature experiences. Whether you are drawn by the park’s ancient artefacts and rich heritage or simply its tranquility, this hilltop park offers something for the whole family.
Armenian Street Park
This is a pedestrianized section of Armenian Street with plants in mobile planter boxes. Look closely and you will find that there are synergies between the plants and the building around. For example, there are spices used in Peranakan cooking in the planters – a nod to the nearby Peranakan Museum and Vanda Miss Joaquim orchids close to the Armenian Church where Miss Agnes Joaquim herself once worshipped.
Formerly known as The Archaeological Dig, the Artisan’s Garden was the site of craftsmen’s workshops and living quarters in the 14th century. It was here that fine goods were fabricated for the hill’s royal residents. Now, interpretive displays share insights into the significance of archaeological finds made on Fort Canning Hill.
Fort Canning Green
Fort Canning Green, a verdant space surrounded by 18th-century gateways and gazebos is a popular venue for stage performances and classical music concerts alike. Located in the heart of Fort Canning, the lawn’s gentle slopes make it the perfect natural auditorium for beloved events like Shakespeare in the Park and Ballet Under The Stars.
First Botanic Garden
Peek into the past to take a look at Singapore’s first botanical and experimental garden. Founded in 1822, the garden has been restored and features crops grown during Singapore’s colonial era. The five zones include latex and resin, timber, ornamental and fragrant trees, forest fruits and coastal and riverine vegetation.
Jubilee Park sits on the western slope of Fort Canning Park, which used to host a range of recreational options for Singaporeans, such as River Valley Swimming Pool, Van Kleef Aquarium and the National Theatre in the 20th century. At one time, it also had play features such as swings. This green space at the foot of Fort Canning Hill has been restored as a family-friendly node where children can play with swings, see-saws, logs and slides hugging the hill slope. There is also space for outdoor art installations, performances and events.
Fort Canning Park’s Spice Garden is based on Raffles’ experiments with spices and terraced plantations. The Spice Garden will be further enhanced at a later stage to include a gallery trail on the significance of spices to Singapore’s history.
This garden is named after Sir Stamford Raffles (1781–1826), the founder of modern Singapore. Whilst Raffles is most remembered for his public life in the former British colonies in Southeast Asia, he was also an avid naturalist, who spent his free time studying botany and wildlife.
Inspired by his love for plants, the Raffles Garden showcases the diverse plant species that Raffles encountered in Southeast Asia. It includes species collected, studied or planted by Raffles and his fellow naturalists, some of whom were also his closest friends.
Sang Nila Utama Garden
Named after the first ancient king of Singapore, Sang Nila Utama Garden is more than just a mouthful. It’s also a recreation of ancient Southeast Asian gardens with a symmetrical layout, Javanese split gates to mark the entrance of new ‘realms’ and a reflective pool for meditation along with plants that were originally cultivated on the hill.
Located at the foot of Fort Canning Green is the new interpretive Farquhar Garden, named after the first resident of Singapore. This garden showcases plants that William Farquhar founded noteworthy like gambier and guava. These have been “framed” to create real-life “natural history drawings”.