TORONTO - Google is honouring Canada Day with a special doodle appearing on its Canadian homepage.
The Google doodle has become a holiday staple and Canada Day is no different, according to the doodle's creator, Willie Real, 32, who has been a doodler for over a year.
The doodle features a beaver wearing a crown and holding the Canadian flag. Notably in the background is a mountain landscape, representing the terrain in British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon.
The doodle would not be the same without a portion of the letter "G" in the background, reminding users they are indeed on the Google website.
"When the Canada Day doodle came up, I was super excited to do it," Real said in an interview from Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
"I have a lot of good friends from Canada."
Real drew inspiration for the doodle by researching Canadian images. One recurring photo was a beaver wearing a crown.
"I kind of fell in love with it," he said. "I couldn't picture the doodle without that."
The beaver is the country's national symbol and represents the building of dams in Canada, while the crown represents the country's connection to the royal family.
Real says since many countries have their own Google homepages, the company has local doodle managers working for them. He co-ordinated with a manager in Canada to ensure the doodle was relevant to the country and holiday.
Real hopes Canadians enjoy the doodle as much as he enjoyed drawing it.
"It was a lot of fun for me to work on the doodle," he said. "I was very honoured."
Real has done approximately 100 doodles for Google. His personal favourites include Day of the Dead for Mexico, Grandparents Day for Poland and the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary doodle.
The first Google doodle was created on Aug. 30, 1998, when Google founders Larry and Sergey were attending the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. They had the idea of putting a stick figure drawing behind the second "o" in the word Google as an "out of office" sign.
The company began drawing doodles regularly to celebrate holidays two years later.
A handful of Google doodlers, trained in animation and illustration, consult four times a year to discuss which holidays and events will be honoured with a doodle.
Overall, the team has created over 1,000 doodles for Google homepages around the world.