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 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 was 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 colourful rings that children can climb through. The popularity of this design resulted in the reproduction of similar versions in HDB playgrounds across Singapore in differing sizes and configurations. These include a smaller variation at Lorong 1 and another in front of Block 570 in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3.
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 for Singaporeans, young and old.
Explore the Suggested Short Trail Routes:
Of Public Housing & Shared Spaces, 1.5 hours on foot (4.5 km)
Of Faiths & Beliefs, 2 hours with public transport (6 km)
Of Community Institutions & Common Spaces, 0.5 hours on foot (1.5 km)