The Empire Stadium was completed in the summer of 1954 for the British Empire Games. It had 25,000 seats of which 10,000 were under cover, as well as additional facilities for 10,000 standing room. There was ample room for expansion to increase the capacity by completing the oval.
When Vancouver hosted the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games 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 site of the former stadium but since its demolition the statue has been moved to the PNE entrance plaza at the intersection of Renfrew and Hastings Streets.
Alex B Findlater of Surrey, B.C. States: "Near the end of it's reign, Empire Stadium seated 37,000 and had artificial grass, being the first stadium in Canada to do so. It was during its tenure the largest stadium in Canada in the 1950s and 60s before the covered and half covered stadiums came into being."
On June 19, 1999 Krammerhead wrote: You have a comment by Alex Findlater of Surrey that states that near the end of empire stadiums reign it seated 37,000. This is untrue. Empire stadium seated 32,375 at its largest size. This information comes from a whitecaps soccer magazine.
On March 7, 2007 Paul Garrison wrote: I just wanted to comment on the profile for Empire Stadium in Vancouver on your website. The first comment posted there is from Alex B. Findlater who states that the seating capacity toward the end of the stadium's life was 37,000. The second comment is from Krammerhead who contradicts the earlier comment, stating that the maximum capacity was 32,375, a figure he read in a Vancouver Whitecaps soccer program.
The seating capacity in the 1970s and early 1980s was in excess of 32,000, however the Grey Cup game was played at Empire Stadium seven times between 1955 and 1974 and the seating capacity was expanded by adding temporary seating on the running track. The attendance at the 1955 Grey Cup game was 39,417 (including standing room).