It is with profound sadness that Canoe Kayak Canada recognizes the passing of Don May on January 27th, 2023 at the age of 93. Don was a treasured member of the paddling community and a leader in sport with over 60 years of service provincially, nationally, and internationally.
Don took part in every element of paddling. He started as an athlete, often sharing stories about his past endeavors, replaying each and every stroke while relishing in some of his favourite races including paddling in War Canoe with his lifelong friend and teammate, Ray Knight as coxswain in 1953 when they won Senior Men’s War Canoe 1-Mile at Nationals in Ottawa. Don often recounted these memories with friends, family, and members of the community with pride and joy.
Don leaves a legacy of passion, dedication, and leadership in the sport of canoeing. He served as the Canadian Canoe Association (CCA) Commodore, Western Ontario Division Flag Officer, national official, was a founding member of the West Rouge Canoe Club and Ak-O-Mak Canoe Club, long-time member of the Toronto Sailing & Canoe Club, including winning the CCA Burgee in 1952 and past president of the Dominion Day Regatta Association (DDRA).
He received many well-deserved accolades which he was honoured to accept including winning captain of the first ever official Senior Women’s C15 at CCA in 1965 with Sudbury/Ak-O-Mak, receiving the R. Edgar Gilbert Award as a Builder in 1985, DDRA Achievement Award in 2005 for his over 50 years of contributions, along with donating the Don May Trophy to CKC for U16 Men’s C4 1000m in 2006.
Don had an insatiable enthusiasm for paddling and many in the community, both young and old, looked up to him for his knowledge, praise, and a good story. He will be dearly missed by all.
Canoe Kayak Canada wishes to express our deepest condolences to Don’s family, his friends and colleagues in the canoeing community. We also want to thank Don for his incredible lifetime contribution to canoeing.
Visitation and funeral information can be found here.