The pedestrian mall along Orchard Road

In June 1973, the Public Works Department announced that that it intended to enhance pedestrian safety and improve the environment around the Orchard Road tourist and shopping belt by building a landscaped pedestrian mall along the busy street. Work on the mall began soon after the announcement was made and involved the covering up of the Stamford Canal along Orchard Road with concrete slabs. Phase One of the project, which comprised of a walkway 900 metres long and eight metres wide between Cuscaden and Grange Roads, was completed in late 1974 at a cost of $1.3 million. The initial stretch of the mall started from Ming Court Hotel, passed Singapura Forum Hotel and Hilton Hotel, and ended at Mandarin Hotel further up the road. Subsequent expansion works in the 1970s saw the mall extended down towards Tanglin and Napier Roads before ending near the Singapore Botanical Gardens along Cluny Road.Orchard Road, located in the central region of Singapore, began as a small country lane in the 1830s surrounded by nutmeg plantations, with spice gardens, pepper farms and fruit tree orchards later sprouting up in the area. Its name was thought to have been derived either from the orchards that once flanked either sides of the lane, or from a Mr. Orchid, who was a plantation owner in the area. By 1860, there were only a few nutmeg plantations left in the area following the worldwide drop in nutmeg prices. The areas surrounding Orchard Road were subsequently developed for residential purposes, with private houses and bungalows common along nearby Scotts and Tanglin Roads. One of the first major retailers to setup shop in the area was the Singapore Cold Storage, which opened a grocery shop along the street in 1905. However, major development of the area only began in the 1960s and by the 1970s, Orchard Road had been transformed into the tourist and shopping belt it is today.