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Toa Payoh Dragon Playground


Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, near Blocks 31 and 264
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In the 1960s, playgrounds in HDB estates were largely of functional designs such as slides, swings and see-saws. In a bid to encourage more engaging, imaginative play, new series of HDB-designed and built playgrounds were introduced in the 1970s.

The first series of playgrounds was animal-themed while the second series was based on local symbols familiar to Singaporeans such as the dragon, a mythical creature common in Asian legends and folktales.

Built in 1979, Toa Payoh Dragon Playground was designed by HDB architect Mr Khor Ean Ghee and was part of the second series. The playground was based on an earlier dragon design that was installed at Toa Payoh Town Garden (now Toa Payoh Town Park).

Featuring a metal head, the Town Garden dragon playground (since removed) had a longer spine and a circular monkey bar, but proved difficult to fabricate. This led to the redesigned dragon playground at Lorong 6, which features a larger head decorated with terrazzo tiles, slides, and a body of colorful rings that children can climb through.

Due to its unique and playful design, the Toa Payoh Dragon Playground became immensely popular and was reproduced in HDB playgrounds across Singapore in varying sizes and configurations. These include a smaller variation at Lorong 1 and another in front of Block 570 in ang mo Kio Avenue 3.

Today, as one of the last remaining playgrounds with a dragon design in Singapore, the Toa Payoh Dragon Playground has become an iconic and beloved landmark among Singaporeans young and old. Its unique design and nostalgic charm continue to attract visitors from all over the world, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a glimpse of Singapore's past.

Designed and built by HDB in 1979, Toa Payoh Dragon Playground with its terrazzo-clad head and ringed body has become one of the most recognisable icons of Singaporean culture. A smaller variation of the dragon playground design is located at Lorong 1.

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