With the Olympics happening until Sunday, what better time to tell the story of the Miracle Mile which is commemorated on the corner of Hastings and Renfrew.
At the main entrance to the PNE grounds stands two figures mid-stride. The statue, unveiled in 1967, displays two men racing each other. One of them has his head turned, looking back, as the other powers straight ahead.
In 1954 Vancouver hosted the Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games) were held in Vancouver at the new Empire Stadium sporting facility – the largest in Canada at the time.
The mile event came down to two racers who had both already made history for their record time: Roger Bannister of England and John Landy of Australia. The statue at the PNE commemorates Landy, who was in the lead for the first few laps, looking over his shoulder while Bannister passes him on the other side – winning by a hair.
File footage is available on the CBC archives website, “be prepared for Bannister’s famous burst of speed at the end of the fourth lap.” You can also learn more at the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in BC Place.
The “Miracle Mile” was not only the first sporting event televised live to all of North America, it was also the first time two runners ran the mile in under 4 minutes. [Source: VancouverHistory, 1954]