The area around Toa Payoh was initially occupied by a Malay kampong (village) and several vegetable farms before it was developed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in the 1960s into Singapore’s second new town after Queenstown. Toa Payoh was the first new town project to be completely developed by HDB and also the first to have its own communal facilities, which included a town garden community plaza, library, and sports stadium. Various foreign dignitaries were shown round what was then considered Singapore’s model public housing estate, including Queen Elizabeth II in 1972. As a tribute to its pioneering status, HDB decided to shift its headquarters from Bukit Merah to Toa Payoh in 2002.In November 1972, the HDB announced plans for the construction of the Toa Payoh Town Gardens as part of the revamp of the new town, which was to be the Games Village when Singapore hosted the 7th Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games in 1973. Plans for the gardens included a children’s playground, an artificial forest, and a man-made lake complete with waterfalls for fishing and boating activities. The Toa Payoh Sports Stadium was another facility that was built in the area especially for the games.