Toa Payoh is the first new town built by the HDB in 1964 and the second-oldest satellite town after Queenstown. The town centre was the first prototype in Singapore.

Bata shoe store was formerly the first fully air-conditioned POSB branch.

Toa Payoh hosted Singapore’s first regional mass sporting event - the 7th South East Asian Peninsula Games (SEAP Games) in August 1973.

The first MRT Station was in Toa Payoh in 1985. So was the first air-conditioned bus interchange in 2002.

Here sits the very first NTUC FairPrice (then known as NTUC Welcome) opened in 1973 by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Chung Hwa Medical Institution has been providing low-cost traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatments since 1979.

Bugs Bunny Barber, an old-school barbershop, has been here since 1971.

Toa Payoh Town Park has a signature Observation Tower and was a popular wedding photography location for couples in the 1970s.

The one and only Y-Shaped block in Toa Payoh was visited by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth twice in 1972 and 2006. It has a private viewing gallery and has earned its name as the “VIP block.”

The last remaining playground in Singapore to have a sand pit, the iconic dragon head structure was made in 1979 from terrazzo tiles and was part of a network of about 30 playgrounds to cater to the new generation of public housing during that time.

The development of Toa Payoh coincided with Singapore's industrialisation plans, where kampongs gave way to factories that made transistors, toys and electronics, including Philips Audio and Video factories in Lorong 1.

A new crop of concept cafes and bakeries has made their way into this old estate, sitting side by side with decades-old heartland shops. For instance Toa Payoh Lorong 1 alone has Creamier cafe, Niche Boulangerie, The Daily Press cafe and frozen yogurt shop Frozen By A Thousand Blessings.

In the day, Toa Payoh East is like any other busy road, but it transforms into a busy wholesale market at night, where truckloads of fresh greens from Malaysia can be bought in bulk and cheaply.

Toa Payoh Is...

my home where I live. Historical and rich values of cultures and religions, all you can find in the estate.

Toa Payoh is...


There are plenty of places in our living environment where colour and stories can inspire us to create art. Even though Singapore is a small city, its neighbourhoods are full of character, each with a unique identity created by residents, architecture and geography.

THE REAL ESTATES is a participatory art project under the National Arts Council’s Arts in Your Neighbourhood programme that playfully combines photography and design to create a series of topographic art maps, drawing on the quirks and patterns unique to a neighborhood.

Kicking off the series in Toa Payoh, Singapore’s second oldest satellite town and the birthplace of modern public housing, more than 40 photography enthusiasts joined in a big walk exploring the various lorongs of Toa Payoh in Feb 2016. With the guidance of three long-time residents, we came up with interesting visual impressions and vignettes of life, which were then playfully stitched together to form the art map here.

In the search for the essence of a place, we choose to pay homage to the little things. From landmarks such as the dragon playground and the octagonal lookout tower at the town park to the unmistakable yellow hue of the MRT station, we have discovered new sides to this old neighbourhood.

The Real Estates - Toa Payoh photo installation is on show at Toa Payoh HDB Hub from 10 - 25 March! Members of the public are invited to share their thoughts on weekends from 10am - 7pm. Next up, we’ll be exploring a new neighbourhood in Nov 2016! See you soon!

On 27 Feb, we explored Toa Payoh and rediscovered hidden gems in the area together with more than 40 photography enthusiasts, covering more than 3km on foot through back alleys, parks and mom-and-pop businesses that have been around through the decades. Check out their photos here!

Logue is a content creation studio led by Jean Loo and Huiwen Yang. Rooted in the principles of journalism, we create social dialogue across the mediums of community art, film and photography and focus on crafting media content with a spirit of discovery. Our photographers for The Real Estates include Marvin Tang, Gaby Jeyaseelan and Donn Tan.

The National Arts Council Arts in Your Neighbourhood programme provides an enriching arts experience at one’s doorstep. It is a series comprising interactive arts programmes by established artists and arts groups, held at various spaces across the island.