Toronto-area student Cindy Tang's brilliantly coloured image of a telescope able to peer into the far depths of the sea has won the inaugural edition of the Doodle 4 Google Canada contest.

Grade 12 student Tang, a 17-year-old who attends Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, Ont., was unveiled Tuesday as the national winner of the contest, held in Canada for the first time, during a ceremony at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).

Her drawing, entitled Sea Telescope, is featured as the "Google Doodle" on the homepage on Wednesday.

Cindy Tang

Cindy Tang, at centre in a black jacket, accepted the prize at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto on Tuesday morning. (Deana Sumanac/CBC)

Her prize includes a $10,000 scholarship, a laptop computer and a $10,000 grant for her school.

"Everyone is going to see my artwork. And even though I should be so happy about the fact... I am still so nervous," Tang told CBC News shortly after her win.

The drawing is also part of a special exhibit at the ROM, alongside images created by more than 70 other finalists.

A popular customization for the Google browser's homepage, a Google Doodle adapts the tech giant's logo to mark special dates, holidays, anniversaries, events or the lives of significant figures.

Organizers kicked off the competition last fall by asking students in kindergarten through Grade 12 to submit an image to fulfil the statement: "If I could invent anything, I would invent..."

Tang's drawing Sea Telescope answers: "I would invent a telescope that would show us the depth of the sea (all of it). I've heard we've discovered less than five per cent of the ocean [with] 95 per cent still left unseen by human eyes."

Tang, the finalist for the Ontario region, was also joined by four remaining national finalists:

  • Prairies: Xusheng (Sam) Yu of St. Francis Xavier Community School for Electric Trees.
  • Atlantic Canada: David Isaiah Jeans of Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School for Age Reversing Machine.
  • Quebec: Meriam Akkou of École Secondaire La Camaradière for Underwater City.
  • British Columbia and the North: Maria Angela Viaje of Johnston Heights Secondary for Virtual Reality Simulator.

The four national finalists will each receive a $5,000 scholarship and a laptop computer.

Submissions were accepted until Dec. 31, after which a judging committee narrowed the list down to 75 regional finalists. Then, a celebrity judging panel chose the 25 finalists. The celebrity group was composed of retired astronaut Chris Hadfield, actress Karine Vanasse, Royal Ontario Museum chief executive Janet Carding and Google Science Fair winner Ann Makosinski.

The public also got to cast votes for their favourite of the 25 finalists.