Fort Canning’s Majestic Banyan Tree Falls Due To Heavy Rain, Netizen Pays Tribute To ‘Grande Dame’

22m-Tall Tree Topples Over Due To Soil Failure, Sight Saddens Nature Lover Who Has Fond Memories Of It

While many Singaporeans appreciated the cool weather resulting from the heavy rainfall over the weekend, there were some unfortunate casualties.

The rain caused floods in some areas and even landslides, but perhaps the most saddening of all was the toppling of a heritage tree in Fort Canning.


The demise of the tree prompted a nature lover to wax lyrical in a Facebook post, calling the tree a “Grande Dame” of Fort Canning.


It’s obvious that he was saddened by the sight, which brought back memories of the tree’s heyday.

Tree was victim of heavy rain over weekend

The tree, which was located on a slope of Fort Canning Hill, was a Burmese banyan, the National Parks Board (NParks) told The Straits Times (ST).

The roots of the 22m-tall tree came loose due to “soil failure” brought on by the heavy rain from 1-2 Jan.

Thus, the tree collapsed, damaging part of the escalators, NParks added.


Visitors were nearby when the tree fell, so nobody was hurt. But the escalators have since been closed.

Tree used to frame National Theatre

In his post, Mr Quek Kwang Yong remembered that the tree was part of a “majestic grove” that framed the now-demolished National Theatre, which used to be on this site.


After the building was no more, the tree dominated the area.

Mr Quek said passers-by wouldn’t be able to miss it when they looked towards Fort Canning from the junction of River Valley Road and Clemenceau Avenue.


Seems like an impressive landmark indeed.

Empty space in the canopy now

Mr Quek said he had been in Fort Canning on 19 Dec, and took some photos of the tree.

On Sunday, he visited the park again, and was sad to see the tree lying in a crumpled heap over the escalator.

Some “before-and-after” photos he shared show how there’s now a large empty space in the canopy there the tree once stood.


The once-majestic tree was reduced to a mess of branches and leaves on the slope.


A truly sorrowful scene indeed.


Nevertheless, Mr Quek thanked the “Grande Dame” of Fort Canning for the memories.

Works start to repair damage

According to ST, parts of Fort Canning were cordoned off as workers removed the tree and repaired other damage.


Elsewhere in Singapore, a slope that eroded at the slip road of the Tampines Expressway (TPE) to Loyang Avenue was closed off since Saturday (2 Jan) for repairs.

In less than 24 hours, works were completed and 1 lane of the road was reopened on Monday (4 Jan).

Another Singapore icon gone too soon

While it’s not surprising that there will be some cost to the environment when heavy rain descend on us, it’s still sad when an iconic natural feature is destroyed.

We hope that humans and birds alike enjoyed the “Grande Dame” of Fort Canning while it was around.

Its fans will always have fond memories of another Singapore icon gone too soon.

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Featured image adapted from Facebook and Facebook.

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