|• Chinese||诺维娜 / 諾維娜|
Etymology and history
Novena and its roads (Jalan Novena Barat and Novena Terrace), buildings (Novena Ville and Novena Gardens), as well as the MRT station in this area are named after the popular Saturday Novena devotion sessions held at the Church of Saint Alphonsus (Novena Church) at 300 Thomson Road. It is so popularly known as the Novena Church that many people, especially non-Catholics, are unaware that the actual name of the church is The Church of Saint Alphonsus.
The current premises of the Novena Church were owned by a wealthy Chinese businessman, Wee Kah Kiat. The premises were bought over by the Redemptorist priests in 1948 where a small church dedicated to Our Mother of Perpetual Help named the Church of Saint Alphonsus was built in May 1950. As accorded to tradition, the novenas to Our Lady of Perpetual Help began in January 1949 and were heavily publicised and instantaneously became widespread in 1951 as intended by Pope Pius XI. Unlike the traditional Wednesdays, the town of Novena celebrates their Novena prayer celebrations and services on a Saturday.
Housing in Novena tends very expensive because of its prime location and facilities. Novena has no HDB flats, but is made up of condominiums and private housing. There are many condominiums in Novena such as Birmingham Mansions, Thomson Euro-Asia and Lion Towers. Newer condominiums include Strata, Novena Suites, Novellis, Soleil at Sinaran (2010) and coming soon (2010) a 5-star serviced hotel across the street from Tan Tock Seng Hospital. These condominiums generally surround the main schools in the area, which are, Saint Joseph's Institution Junior, formerly known as St Michael's School at Essex Rd and San Yu Adventist School, on the corner between Thomson Road and Chancery Lane with Balestier Hill Secondary School at Novena Rise.
Novena is linked with the city by MRT, buses and taxis. The area has no bus interchange, the nearest being in Toa Payoh. Buses that stop along Novena include 5, 21, 54, 56, 57, 131, 141, 143, 162, 166, 167, 851 and 980. Many of these buses come from heartlands such as Pasir Ris, Yishun, Bishan, Ang Mo Kio, Sembawang and Yio Chu Kang. They link the heartlands with the city.
Central to this area is the Novena Square Shopping Mall, a shopping centre situated directly above the Novena MRT Station and Novena Medical Centre is located at levels 8 to 11 of the Square 2 shopping centre. Next to Novena Square is a sports-themed mall called Velocity. Another shopping centre in Novena is United Square Shopping Mall, a children-oriented mall. Shops located in the Novena area include Starbucks (one in United Square and another in Novena Square), Spinelli, Cold Storage and Harvey Norman. Novena has seen major improvements in terms of new shops opening in the area since Square 2 and Velocity commenced business in recent years.
- Victor R Savage, Brenda S A Yeoh (2003), Toponymics - A Study of Singapore Street Names, Eastern Universities Press, ISBN 981-210-205-1