After decades of dropping candy from the sky, this Inuk pilot is taking Christmas off

Although Johnny May intends to spend the holidays with his family, the candy distribution will continue – this time with pickup trucks. This Christmas Day, the cheery man who flies across the skies dropping presents to delighted children is taking a holiday.

No, it’s not Santa Claus; instead, it’s 76-year-old bush pilot Johnny May, much to his community’s dismay.

“When you’re at a performance with a terrific band, do you notice how people start chanting one more time, one more time? Exactly the same, “May, who is also the brother of Governor General Mary Simon, told Carol Off on As It Happens.

“‘Are you doing a candy drop this year?’ someone will ask me almost every time I go to the neighborhood retailers. So, yes, people are wondering if I’ll continue, but I’m afraid I won’t.” The Inuk pilot has flown over Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec every year for the previous 55 years, except in 2020, dropping everything from sweets, toys, and warm clothing to coupons for TVs, chainsaws, and refrigerators but they are given in the form of a certificate in an envelope.

The Kuujjuaq Christmas Candy Drop, a children’s book by the Canada Aviation and Space Museum that was later converted into this animated feature, is dedicated to his yearly Christmas flights. The book is accessible in both English and French with Inuktitut translations.


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