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Back when a Burnaby reader hated the ‘inane fantasy name of SkyTrain’

NOW reader F.G. Gribben thought the new advanced light rapid transit system opened in December 1985 was a 'laudable feat of engineering' with a stupid name.

The completion of the Lower Mainland’s new advanced light rapid transit system in time for Expo 86 was an impressive feat, and Burnaby NOW reader F.G. Gribben thought those involved should be congratulated for a “laudable feat of engineering.”

There was just one thing – the name.

“We’ve certainly got an elevated railroad, to be sure. But in the sky?”

Gribben, a Burnaby resident, hated the name and lambasted it – and the media who remained “ever so silent” in the face of the travesty – in a strongly worded letter to the editor published on May 7, 1986.

“We taxpayers who paid for it all and will continue to do so should ask ourselves why the government spent so much of our money on a world-class system, only to put it into ridicule by giving it the inane fantasy name of SkyTrain,” Gribben wrote.

He dismissed the name as “Socred-sponsored fantasy” and said the media had “collectively condoned the government’s fantasy-name … without even a whimper.”

When Gribben wrote his letter, the Expo Line terminated at the New Westminster station.

Columbia wouldn’t be added till 1989.

And a year after that, the government gave Gribben another name to stew about – SkyBridge.

Opened in March 1990, the bridge spans the Fraser River between the Columbia and Scott Road SkyTrain stations.