New Brunswick

Google Doodle honours the Hartland Covered Bridge

Google marked the 111th anniversary of the Hartland Bridge by featuring the historic covered bridge as its Google Doodle Wednesday.

World's longest covered bridge opened on July 4, 1901

The Hartland Covered Bridge's 111th anniversary is being marked by Google today on its daily doodle. (Google) marked the 111th anniversary of the Hartland Bridge by featuring the historic covered bridge as its Google Doodle Wednesday.

The world’s longest covered bridge opened on July 4, 1901 and stretches across the St. John River in the western New Brunswick town.

That anniversary is being celebrated by the world's most famous search engine. Each day, Google unveils a new doodle marking an important event on that day in history.

Hartland Mayor Craig Melanson said he wasn't given any advance warning of the drawing would appear for Canadians using the Google search engine.

But the Hartland mayor said he got a call from his daughter Wednesday morning telling him he was the "mayor of Google."

He calls it a "million-dollar advertisement" for the town and the province.

"We certainly have hundreds upon hundreds of busloads of tourists that come every year, not to mention all of the individuals who come in their vehicles. But I think that for the province in particular it does a lot. People want to see or do things while they're on vacation and this bridge does that. It gives them something to come to," said Melanson.

That free publicity is already paying off.

Janine and Tim Killoran were driving through the area from Ottawa Wednesday and stopped to see the bridge.

"I was on Facebook and on my newsfeed it said that it was on Google, this bridge, so I was like, 'Hey maybe we'll go check it out,'" she told CBC News.

Local residents were also surprised. "I went on [Google] and it was the bridge and I was like, 'Oh my God,'" said Chelsea Giberson.

The town's library manager Jean Hayward printed it off and made a poster out of it for the public.

Believed to be a first for New Brunswick

There have been more than 1,000 doodles on Google's homepage since 1998, ranging from a Starry Night-style version of the logo to commemorate Vincent Van Gogh's 152nd birthday on March 29, 2005 to mini, playable version of Pac-Man that commemorated the game's 30th anniversary on May 22, 2010.

Aaron Brindle, a communications officer at Google Canada, said the company has been interested in featuring the bridge's anniversary for a while.

"They've built this wonderful bridge and Canadians should be really proud of the fact that it's the longest covered bridge in the world," Brindle said.

"But really our goal is just to kind of surprise our users and to add a touch of whimsy to the homepage."

And Brindle said, as far as he knows, this is New Brunswick's first feature doodle.

The Hartland Covered Bridge is not the only famous span to be honoured by Google recently. San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was the daily doodle on May 27.

The Hartland Covered Bridge has become an iconic image in New Brunswick. It was declared a National Historic Site in 1980 and a Provincial Historic Site in 1999.

The bridge was constructed in 1901 by a private company because the provincial government wouldn't build one. The provincial government eventually purchased the bridge in 1906.

Two bridge spans collapsed due to ice in 1920 and when the bridge re-opened in 1922 it was covered.