Johnny May (1945 – ) ❖
Johnny May was born in Kangiqsualujjuaq and now lives in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik. He was one of the first Inuit pilots. Throughout his career, Johnny May saved many lives. He often completed medivacs where he would transport sick people who required medical services that were not available in Nunavik to southern hospitals He also played an important role in many search and rescues.
Johnny May has taught many other pilots. He is also an entrepreneur; he opened Johnny May Air Charters, which allows community members and tourists to view Nunavik by air. He has played a vital role in delivering essential cargo to communities, including mail, food, and medical supplies.
For many years, people in Kuujjuaq gathered in excitement on Christmas day to see Johnny May in his plane. He would fly low over the community and drop candy and supplies to the lucky people below.
Johnny May’s accomplishments have been recognized by many including the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Linda Brand (the author of the trilingual children’s book, The Kuujjuaq Christmas Candy Drop), and CBC (who created a movie animation about Johnny May, titled The Great Northern Candy Drop).
Author: Text by LEARN Social Sciences, based on text by Sonia Mendes at Ingenium: Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation, A living legend: Saying farewell to Johnny May’s sweet tradition.