Fort Needham, located on a 15 acre site in north end Halifax overlooking Halifax Harbor, was built in 1778 under the supervision of military engineer William Spry. It was to serve as a commanding landward defence of the Naval Dockyard and passage of the Narrows and to some extent defence of the town. Historian Harry Piers described the fortification as a pentagonal earthen redoubt 100 by 75 feet, mounting four guns and containing two small barracks for 50 soldiers. The fort was rebuilt in 1807 prior to the War of 1812 between Britain and the US but fell into disuse in the 1820s.
Following the Halifax Explosion in 1917 the site was renamed the Fort Needham Memorial Park where each year on December 6 residents gather at the Halifax 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, significant improvements to the park were carried out, including the grounds, park entrances and stairways, park lighting and commemoration features and interpretation elements.