My Memories of Toa Payoh

My earliest visits to Toa Payoh were for my majong sessions with my Poly classmates. I don’t think I could remember which Lorong Jeffrey Heng stayed… Every trip there brought excitement to me. I loved the big old bus interchange and the hawker centre besides it. We ate there before going to his house for majong.

- Bus Interchange

Sad that the old bus interchange was demolished in 1999 to make way for the HDB Hub (HDB shift their HQ from Jalan Bukit Merah to here). So the bus interchange relocate to a temporary location opposite its original site and then shift back after the Hub was completed.

Here is how the old bus interchange looked like in 1988;

Photo credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

Below the temporary bus interchange in 2002;

Photo credit : dgf6928 (definitely not me in the photo, so don’t be mistaken – just someone off the net that I don’t know)

The new Toa Payoh air-conditioned bus interchange (first in Singapore) at the HDB Hub;

- Toa Payoh Library

Of course, the nearby Toa Payoh Library was another must visit then when I needed to borrow some books. In front of the library, there was a fountain but now it’s replaced by amphitheatre. The library together with the fountain was built in 1973;

The fountain in front of the library in the 80s;

Photo Credit : HDB, Designed For Living

The above photo you can see the cinema besides it and the old bus stop on the right hand side.

How the library looks like after a face lift;

Below the amphitheater in front of the library;

Below you can see the HDB Hub building behind the library;

Photo credit : Jakrapong
- Toa Payoh Garden

Remember this was the landmark of most wedding couples having their wedding photos taken here then.

This was the Toa Payoh Garden Restaurant in the 80s;

Photo credit : Yiho

How it looks now;

Above 2 photo credit : Sophiazz

Photo credit : Chyeo1979

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38 Responses to “My Memories of Toa Payoh”


  1. 1 acroamatic Tuesday, August 21, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Oh, that was a blast from the past. Thanks, Laokokok!

    I remember taking the 56 after school back to Bishan ‘cos there was no direct bus from SJI to Bishan in those days. Also, I go to the church across the road from the library, so these photos bring back memories.

    The photo of the library being built… Singapore was so spacious back then.

  2. 2 Victor Koo Wednesday, August 22, 2007 at 10:37 am

    My 2nd elder brother took his wedding photos at the Toa Payoh Garden and I was there. That must have been in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

  3. 3 laokokok Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 7:36 am

    You are right Victor. Many couples took their wedding photos at the Toa Payoh Garden then. Wonder if it’s still a trend now?

  4. 4 Lam Chun See Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    I worked for nearly 6 years up to 1984 at the Philips Audio Factory in Lorong 1. My colleagues and I knew where the cheapest coffee house set lunches in TP. Also the best Hainanese beef noodles (Lorong 6) and chicken feet noodles (just next to our factory on the hill top)

    Do you know about the famous Adrian Lim case? It happened in Lor 7 Toa Payoh.

  5. 5 Lam Chun See Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Oh yeah, there was also HDB club next to the Stadium and the Safra. We used to go jogging at the Stadium and play squash at the HDB club.

  6. 6 laokokok Friday, August 24, 2007 at 8:20 am

    Yes, is Philips factory still there?

  7. 7 Lam Chun See Friday, August 24, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Yes. It’s still there. Actually it’s a huge complex of 3 factories. The few blocks of flats across Lor 1 from my former workplace have been rebuilt into 30+ storey flats. I visited a friend who stayed in the upper floors. Fantastic view. Can see MacRitchie even.

  8. 8 Shilpa Sunday, August 26, 2007 at 7:25 am

    Hi Laokokkok, my first visit here (found you in my technorati results, dunno how come)..

    OMG, I used to live in Toa Payoh until I was 8 (which is more than 20 years ago) and have hardly gone back since I started living in Tampines (and now, abroad)! These photos just bring back a flood of memories! I totally forgot about the fountain in front of the library, but thanks for the reminder! Haha!! Out of this world, man! I even have a picture of myself in Toa Payoh garden that my mom took possibly around my 1st or 2nd birthday! Wah lau, I can’t believe how much Toa Payoh has changed, but when I used to live here, McDonald’s hadn’t yet encroached! ;-)

    Will come back for more when I can…

  9. 9 laokokok Monday, August 27, 2007 at 7:55 am

    You are most welcome Shilpa! Though you are now out of Singapore, your “Wah Lau” still very Singapore haha!

  10. 10 Patricea Chow Sunday, September 2, 2007 at 3:33 am

    I remember there was a Chinese restaurant located in the white structure in one of the photos of TPY Garden. Extremely popular too! Never ate there but every time I happened to take a walk in the gardens, it was always busy, especially in the evening.

    I went to school at CHIJ for 10 years, then another two years in CJC, living first at Sennett Estate then Bishan and Yishun. I knew by heart where the different bus stands at the old bus terminus were; there was a shortcut that only the students and residents in the area knew of from the back school gate to another bus stop along the highway; I spent afternoons after school and even on weekends at the library; my favourite pisang goreng store is at the kopitiam near the library; on weekends my family would buy groceries at the NTUC then we will have dinner at the big square-shape hawker centre next to the small cinema, which has now been replaced by a park, the very same one near the HDB offices.

    So I practically grew up in TPY without living there. Seeing these photos brought back many memories…

  11. 11 Amber Monday, September 3, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    hi,
    any idea where Toa Payoh Garden Restaurant moved to?
    used to eat there.

    thanks

  12. 12 felicia Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Anyone has a photo of the now demolished Block 79?
    I grew up there and regret not taking a photo b4 they tore it down!

    • 13 Mohamad Ghouse Monday, February 18, 2013 at 10:54 am

      i spent my childhood days at Toa Payoh from 1972 to 1985. i went to this blk 79 many times, 4th storey visit my friend an indian penang muslim family, his name is Ahmad Kamil. Last 2 years he passed away in early 40 years of age, i missed him so much and also missed his blk 79. This is a curved flat isnt it ? i regret too never took picture of this flat.

  13. 14 MKT Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Hi, I lived at Toa Payoh since 1967 and it’s a memory I could not forget.The Toa Payoh Garden is the place for us to relax and the library is where we love to borrow books.
    I just bring back lots of memories. We should have a Toa Payoh resident club.

  14. 15 laokokok Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Hi MKT,
    Welcome here. Woh another one staying at Toa Payoh…good.

  15. 16 bbll Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    I stayed at Toa Payoh for 20 years plus. I was previously from Poi ching School which has now shifted to Tampines. I remember walking to my primary school when I was young. Happily walking in the rain after school.

    Thank you for sharing the photos on Toa Payoh. I missed the old days, the old buildings and all my childhood memories come back after seeing all those photos. The market at Lorong 4 is still there though. I used to go to the swimming pool when I was young and we always have our Sports Day at Toa Payoh Stadium.

  16. 17 laokokok Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 7:30 am

    HI bbll,
    Welcome here. Many schools have since shifted from their original place but retaining their old names. Sometimes, childhood memories are best.

  17. 18 jaCKY777 Thursday, February 14, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Hey laokokok,
    jus get 2 noe of ur blog thru a future neighbour (Toa Payoh Central Blk 79).
    I grew up in TPY. My good & bad times, all had happened in TPY. I had lived in TPY 24yrs then shifted out. Now, 10yrs later, ‘I’l b back’.
    Cant deny, ur pix really brings back memories. After looking thru e pix (though limited) & reading thru’ e replies, my eyes r red.
    Lookin 4ward more pix & replies. Hopefully, can find my long-lost childhood frnds. :~ :rolleyes:

  18. 19 laokokok Monday, February 18, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Hi Jacky777,
    Welcome here and hope you enjoy reading this blog. Glad you are back in your old hometown after 10yrs.

  19. 20 Mark Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Hi laokokok,

    I am also looking for the pictures of block 79, toa payoh. I heard it’s pretty iconic and would be very keen to see how it looks. Thanks!

  20. 21 laokokok Monday, March 24, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Hi Mark,
    Welcome here. Anyone got photos of that block 79?

  21. 22 Joe Goh Sunday, April 20, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Hi there,

    Thanks for putting up those pictures of Toa Payoh. It brings back memories and tears to my eye. I grew up exactly in the blocks next to the library and fountain.

    I remember my childhood vividly and fondly now, playing hide and seek by hiding over the ledge on the point block and walking into the middle of the fountain to catch the fishes in there.

    Where did you get those pictures by the way. They really jolted me. Makes you realise how fast time flies.

    Appreciate you for sharing these again,

    Joe

  22. 23 laokokok Monday, April 21, 2008 at 7:12 am

    Hi Joe,
    Thank you for visiting my blog and glad you like it. Some of the old photos are from National Archives of Singapore and others are searching through the internet.

  23. 24 Grace Friday, April 25, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Thanks for the memories – I lived in TP for about 23yrs before shifting.

    Philips factory used to be a brown builing isn’t it? I believe it has moved a few times to its current location at Blk 620A

  24. 25 Grace Friday, April 25, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Oh, and the Toa Payoh hospital at the top of the hill!! Any pictures of that? I accompanied my mum to work sometimes, and I miss the hospital really.

  25. 26 Emile Saturday, April 26, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Nice pictures. My wife and I lived in Toa Payoh for some time in one of those 40 floor HDB flats behind the MRT. Nice place to be, good food and lots of memories. Hope you come back there some time!!

  26. 27 laokokok Monday, April 28, 2008 at 7:18 am

    Hi Grace,
    Welcome to my blog. Yes the current Philips factory seems to be a different location than the past – thanks for bringing that out. I’ll try to look for the photo of Toa Payoh Hospital photo.

    Hi Emile,
    Thanks and glad to hear you are staying in Toa Payoh too.

  27. 28 Tracer Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Hi! I was browsing around for old photos of TPY and happen to drop by your site. Those photos indeed brought back many childhood memories.

    My family have been living here since 1970 and we’ve seen lots of changes, so much that at times we can’t really recall some of the previous structures. Thanks for bringing back the wonderful times I’ve once had during childhood.

    Hope you could share more photos with me if you had any. I’m also hope one of these day we can have a meet up and chat of this memorable place hee hee…

    domheng@yahoo.com.sg

  28. 29 laokokok Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Hi Tracer,
    Thanks for surfing by my blog. Yes, in fact many heartlands have too drastic structural changes until we can recognise it.

  29. 30 ning Monday, January 12, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    i lived through all that you mention in your blog and i’m still staying in toa payoh currently! thanks for all the good memories, i like it better back then actually! :)

  30. 31 DC Friday, September 18, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    The dragon in TP gardens was the longest most exciting thing in my childhood (sounding wrong already)….

    TP garden was like THE place to be on mid autumn, with our cheesy ultraman (with and inverted condom like contraption to stuff the battery into) electric lanterns.

  31. 32 farhero Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 5:26 am

    My first kiss was in Toa Payoh Central next to the library. How can I ever forget!

  32. 34 Nico Yap Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Wow… I never thought I can see all those pics again. Thanks laokokok. I remember the Toa Payoh Garden Restaurant. Never go on weekends, alway crowded. Toa Payoh Garden is where my uncle brought my aunt to walk walk. I was about 6 or 7 years old when my uncle drag me to date my aunt. heheheee….

  33. 35 alv39 Monday, June 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    hi just to share i’m staying in Toa Payoh for many year.When i was born my first blk was 141 cos of enblock then move to 139 then got married bought 140 enblock again now stay at 147.

    • 36 Zeng Kai Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      Hi, I love ur blog on athe
      Memories of tpy.
      I moved here 3 years ago from woodlands (25yrs there)

      Like tis new place. I tried to search for some
      Old photos of BLK 79A-E.
      Do u happen to have any?

      Tks man

  34. 37 PW Monday, March 4, 2013 at 10:10 am

    I used to stay at blk 64 (one of the rental blocks) in the 80s as a child, can barely recognize the area after the 90s. At least these landmarks are still intact: the CC and NPC, library, and the three-way junction nearby I need to cross in order to get home, and the hawker centre at blk 75

  35. 38 BH Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Thanks All for your input. I’ve had a fabulous walk down memory lane. I used to live in Blk 101 Lorong 2. There were 4 blocks of one bedroom apartments then. One of the poorest parts of town, I’m afraid. Made for quite an education when you grow up there. I would love to find some photos of these apartments. I’m writing my thesis and researching in Singapore next year. Can anyone tell me where one can go to gain access to photo archives of old HDB estates? Thanks again.


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