AMHERST, N.S. -- An Amherst, N.S., woman was set to become a Canadian citizen before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the ceremony.

It was disappointing news for Diana Akilian, who was eager to take the oath of Canadian citizenship after having lived in Canada for 12 years.

“Always my dream was to have a physical ceremony and it was my dream to bring my parents, especially my mom, to watch my ceremony when I was taking my oath,” says Akilian, a 33-year-old Armenian who grew up in Kuwait.

While it wasn’t the ceremony she had dreamed of, Akilian took her oath of Canadian citizenship virtually, via Zoom, on Wednesday.

“I feel like I’m still dreaming, to be honest,” said Akilian. “I’m still in my dream.”

While her family couldn’t be there in person, they watched from home.

After leaving Kuwait, Akilian spent two years at university in Lebanon before moving to Sackville, N.B., to study at Mount Allison University.

She also graduated from Oulton College in Moncton as a pharmacy technician and now owns a garage in Amherst, where she works in auto sales.

Akilian says she has always felt at home in Canada, since immigrating to the country in 2008, and she’s thrilled to now be able to call herself an official Canadian.

“From the first day, I can tell you, I felt as if I am in my home,” she says.

As someone who speaks Armenian, Arabic and English, her next Canadian goal is to learn French and finish her Bachelor’s of Commerce at Mount Allison University.

For now, she’s marking a milestone celebrated in an unconventional way, but one she will cherish forever.