Fort Canning Park
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Main entrances at Hill Street, Canning Rise, Percival Road, River Valley Road, Canning Walk (behind Park Mall).

The nearest MRT station is Dhoby Ghaut Station. Take a short walk to Fort Canning Park, it is near the Park Mall Underpass, behind Park Mall.

Stamford Road Buses: - 7, 14, 16, 36, 111, 124, 131, 147, 162, 166, 174, 175, 502, 77, 106, 167, 171, 190, 700, 857.

Hill Street Buses: - 124, 145, 147, 166, 174, 190, 851.

River Valley Buses: - 32, 54, 195, NR2, NR3, NR5, NR6, NR7, NR8, 1N, 2N, 3N, 4N, 5N, 6N, 7N, 8N.

Carparking at Percival Road Carpark, The Legends Fort Canning Park and Registry of Marriages.

Fort Canning Park
Alongside Canning Walk/Rise.
Tel: 1800-4717300 / +65 6332 1200

Fort Canning Park (18-hectare) is the most historic part of Singapore. Malay and Chinese historical records point to this hill as the centre of a kingdom that arose around 1300AD. The royal palace of ancient Malay rulers probably stood on the summit of this once "Forbidden Hill".

Visit the following within the park: The Keramat Iskandar Syah; Archaeological Excavation Site; The Parit Singapura; Reservoir; Fort Canning Centre & Green; Fort Gate; The Legends Fort Canning Park; ASEAN Sculpture Garden; Cupolas; Spice Garden; and much more.

Archaeological excavations prove the vitality of Fort Canning Hill's history as far back as the 14th century when it was the seat of the Malay Kingdom, Temasek. According to the Malay Annals, the site was chosen for settlement by Sri Tri Buana, ruler of Temasek and the one reputed to have seen the fabled lion for which he named the island 'Singapura' (Lion City).

Beleaguered by attacks from the Siamese and Majapahit, the last known ruler of Temasek, Iskandar Syah, fled from the settlement. Except for minimal portside activity, little was known of the island until the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819.

Because of the beautiful view the hill commanded, Raffles chose to build his bungalow and to establish the first botanical garden here in 1822. Until mid-19th century, Singapore's governors were residents here; thus the epithet 'Government Hill'.

The Fort was named in 1861 in the honor of Viscount Charles John Canning, the first Viceroy of India. From that time until the 1970s, Fort canning was used as a military base - first by the British, then by the Japanese during the Second World War, and lastly by the Replublic's armed forces.

The hill underwent several name changes. The Malays called it Bukit Larangan (Forbidden Hill) for several possible reasons: (1) it reputedly contains the tomb or keramat of Sultan Iskandar Shah, the Malay ruler of the Kingdom of Singapura, who is said to have forbidden ordinary people to come to the hill because his concubines & wives used to bath at a spring there; (2) the Malays were fearful of climbing the hill as they thought the palace of their ancestor kings had once stood there; (3) the site had sightings of fabled lion; (4) the Malays believed that the hill is haunted by many other ghosts & spirits.

Fort Canning was known as Bukit Tuan Bonham, after Sir Samuel George Bonham, Governor 1836-48. In the latter part of the 19th century it was called Bukit Bendera (Flag Hill), because of the signals made for shipping from its flagstaff, the red ensign for the closing of the P&O mails for Europe, a yellow flag for the China mails, for Calcutta the blue ensign, and for Australia the white ensign.

During the construction of the 30 million gallon capacity reservoir in 1928, Hindu Javanese gold jewelries dated to about 1360 was found. Ruins of ancient brick buildings were found, that gave support to the legend of an ancient palace.

Take The Battle Box Tour, located within Fort Canning Park. Click here to learn more about The Battle Box.


January 2010.