Fort Needham, located on a 15 acre site in north end Halifax overlooking Halifax Harbor, was built in 1776 under the supervision of military engineer William Spry. It was to serve as a defence of the Royal Naval Dockyard and included a barracks for 50 soldiers. The fort was rebuilt in 1807 and served until December 1917 when the barracks was destroyed by the Halifax Explosion. The site was renamed the Fort Needham Memorial Park where each year on December 6 residents gather the Explosion Memorial Bell Tower to hear the ringing of the memorial bells and to remember the great devastation (2,000 killed, thousands injured). To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the explosion in 2017, major improvements to the park were carried out, including the grounds, park entrances and stairways, park lighting and commemoration features and interpretation elements.