Family Fun at the Fort

April 29th, 2007   •   10 comments   

Do you know that Singapore’s founding father Sir Stamford Raffles used to live up on Fort Canning? Or that this used to be called Bukit Larangan or “Forbidden Hill” in Malay?

With about 45 minutes to kill after breakfast and before Ethan’s Chinese enrichment classes, my family decided to frolick this hilly green oasis in the middle of our concrete jungle. It was a certainly a pleasant walk in the park even with the warm midday sun beating down upon us.

Our climb started with a peek at the map of Fort Canning located beside the stairs.
Ethan and Tina huffing and puffing their way up the hill.

The reward? A spectacular view of the city framed in idyllic green.

This newly built fitness corner is just the thing for health nuts like me, who still have to clear my IPPT before my birthday this year!

A fallen tree trunk becomes home to ferns and other symbiotic floral and faunal species.

Information panels like this informs us about the park’s historical legacies and tales.

Tina and Ethan taking a walk along the many red brick paths lining the park. These paths encircle the entire circumference of the hill. I believe there are about three different “bands” of ascending heights and degrees of breathlessness!

We spotted a cat catching a grey squirrel for its lunch near the forested area of the park. This other squirrel here climbed up a tree and squeaked plaintively, as if crying for its mate. I wondered though if its really warning other compatriots of the ferocious feline?

Old style wooden rails like this add character to the park.

So does this yellow brick wall with interesting hindu-inspired monstrous faces adorning its facade.

A view of the now disused River Valley Swimming Pool, where my wife Tina had many fond memories of splashing and swimming in its cool waters during her childhood days.

On the right side of the defunct pool is this other view, where the old Van Kleef Aquarium and National Theatre used to be. I still remembered fondly those days when I visited the aquarium as a kid and went goggle-eyed over its huge tanks full of exotic fishes.

Hmmm… what could these colourful slabs of stone resembling surfboards be about?

Ahh…. I see. They are part of an installation art work commissioned by the National Parks Board.

Of course, the short trip ended with smiles all around, especially for my little one who is trying to strike a cheeky pose.

PS – Happy 67th Birthday Pop! Will be posting pictures of our dinner at Broth shortly.

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  1. posted on Apr 30, 2007 at 12:04 AM

    Thank you for the post. I was trying hard to figure out where Van Kleef Aquarium used to be, when I was at Fort Canning Hill several weeks ago.

  2. posted on Apr 30, 2007 at 4:01 AM

    wow wow..another article that opens my memory bank…Fort Canning is a great place for joggers and artsy plays…nice to know you guys are the active sort brudder Walter… 🙂

    Hmm..good point there oceanskies79…where did they put that darn thing..I did remember going their for a field trip back when I was in primary 1..think I still have the pic..keke..

  3. posted on Apr 30, 2007 at 4:51 AM


    I used to jog around the perimeter of Fort Canning when I visit my parent’s place at River Valley. It offers lots of pretty views plus of course gets your heart pumping really hard as the slopes can be rather steep.

    I loved Van Kleef Aquarium for the unpretentious way in which it presented the big fishes just in huge aquariums. No fancy schmancy thematic recreations or “realistic” water-scapes, just lots of big, bigger and biggest fishes!

  4. posted on Apr 30, 2007 at 4:52 AM


    Didn’t know you were old enough to know about Van Kleef Aquarium? He he… at least now I don’t feel as aged as I do nowadays…

  5. posted on Apr 30, 2007 at 5:35 AM

    WOW this place looks GREAT! One day when I go to singapore I HAVE to check out this place. Don’t mind the climbing stairs! The view is gorgeous!

  6. posted on Apr 30, 2007 at 6:46 AM

    Natasshea, glad to know that you are also an outdoors person. I believe there must also be lots of gorgeous nature hang outs back where you come from?

  7. posted on Apr 30, 2007 at 8:46 AM

    I nearly died climbing these stairs a few months ago, probably getting old. That’s the sign of having not enough exercise too. 😛

    Ethan, as usual, looking so happy after a great outing!

    Oh, Happy Birthday to your Pops.

  8. posted on Apr 30, 2007 at 11:07 PM


    Time for some exercise friend! Your place is actually just a stone’s throw away from the beach so no excuses. He he….. Incidentally, I am becoming an adrenaline junkie yet again and has been jogging three evenings in a row. Hope to keep that up.

  9. posted on May 02, 2007 at 7:27 AM

    Wah lau eh brudder Walter..dun say I am old leh…I am still pretty young..or at least at heart..wahah!! 😛

  10. posted on May 03, 2007 at 4:17 AM


    Ooops…. lou chu ma jiao!

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