Parents who spent the hours waiting in line to register their children for recreational programs left the lineup to find that their vehicles had been towed.

Dozens of people lined up to sign their children up for spring and summer recreational programs in North York when registration opened early Tuesday morning.

Many of the parents waiting in line at the North York Civic Centre were there for hours, hoping to sign their children up for free camps and sports programs.

Although registration opened at 7 a.m., one parent told reporters that he'd been in line since 4 a.m. on Tuesday.

"There are a lot of disappointed faces down there with people who lined up way before me," he said, adding that some of the programs were full in the first few hours.

Another said he'd arrived at 2 a.m., but that there were some people who had been camped out at the centre since 7 p.m. on Monday.

As the parents lined up inside the civic centre, tow trucks lined up outside and went to work removing several cars that were parked illegally during rush hour.

The City of Toronto allows residents to apply for spring and summer programs in person, over the phone and online, but many parents said that they believed applying in person generally improves chances of acceptance.

Approximately 30 per cent of spots were filled as of Tuesday morning according to the city's Parks, Forestry and Recreation department. So many people tried to apply, that the city's website had technical problems, and the department had to direct people to a different webpage.

One father said he'd been lining up outside in the early hours for four years, after an unsuccessful attempt to apply online and over the phone using multiple computers and phones at the same time.

He said summer camp registration is particularly competitive in North York, and there aren't enough spots for the number of interested kids.

Approximately 40,000 people signed up either online, over the phone or in person in the first 90 minutes of open registration, according to the city.

Registration for programs in East York and downtown Toronto opens Wednesday at 7 a.m.

Each year, the city processes approximately 600,000 registrations for courses at community centres, arenas and pools. City staff processes another 145,000 applications for spring and summer programs including camps.