Empire Stadium (Vancouver)
- For the later temporary home of Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the British Columbia Lions, see Empire Field.
Empire Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium that stood at the Pacific National Exhibition site at Hastings Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Track and field and Canadian football, as well as soccer and musical events, were held at the stadium. The stadium was originally constructed for the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. The stadium (which sat 32,375 upon opening, but 30,229 after 1974) hosted both Elvis Presley and The Beatles. It saw most of its use as the home of the BC Lions of the CFL from 1954 to 1982, in which the venue also played host to the first Grey Cup game held west of Ontario in 1955. Empire Stadium also hosted the Grey Cup game in 1958, 1960, 1963, 1966, 1971, and 1974; seven times in total.
1955 Grey Cup at Empire Stadium
|Location||East Hastings Street, Vancouver|
|Owner||City of Vancouver|
|Surface||Natural grass (1954–1969)|
Artificial turf (1970–1993)
|BC Lions (CFL) (1954–1982)|
Vancouver Whitecaps (NASL) (1974–1983)
Vancouver Royals (USA/NASL) (1967–1968)
The stadium was also home to the Vancouver Whitecaps of the North American Soccer League during the 1970s and early 1980s, as well as the Vancouver Royals of the same league for their only year of play in 1968.
Just before the 1966 Grey Cup game, the stadium had the new "gooseneck" or "slingshot" goal posts erected invented by Jim Trimble and Joel Rottman, marking the first time these goalposts were used at any level of football in a championship game. They were first used a week earlier at Montreal's Autostade for the 1966 Eastern Conference final; this model goalpost would soon become the standard design in the NFL and CFL. In 1970, it became the first facility in Canada to have artificial playing surface installed made by 3M, under the brand name "Tartan Turf".
Both the Lions and Whitecaps moved to BC Place Stadium for the 1983 season. The stadium was demolished in the early 1990s. The site served as a parking lot for the neighbouring Pacific National Exhibition as well as Playland for many years before being converted to a soccer field and track on the site of the old field.
With BC Place Stadium undergoing renovations in 2010 and 2011, the BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps played their home games at Empire Field, a temporary field constructed on the former grounds of Empire Stadium. After the renovations to BC Place were complete, the temporary stadium was removed. The park and sports fields were restored for community use.
The Miracle MileEdit
Vancouver hosted the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954 at Empire Stadium. The most famous event of the games was the One Mile Race in which both John Landy and Roger Bannister ran the distance in under four minutes. The race's end is memorialized in a statue of the two (with Landy glancing over his shoulder, thus losing the race), that stood outside the stadium until its demolition. The statue formerly stood near the south end of Hastings St., but has since been moved to the Pacific National Exhibition north entrance just metres from where the feat took place at the new Empire Fields.
- Kingston, Gary (2009-06-23). "B.C. Lions may return to original site of Empire Stadium". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
- "Whitecaps not complaining about two home fields in 2011". Ian Walker, Vancouver Sun. October 29, 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-05-20. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- "Temporary Stadium, Empire Fields Vancouver". Nussli Group.