More than 100 parents lined up for hours in the freezing cold overnight in the hopes of registering their children at a Brampton Catholic high school.
The school, Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School, accepts Grade 9 students from Catholic "feeder" schools in its catchment area, but it has 85 spots for students from other boards who live within its boundary.
Those students are allowed to register on what it calls "open access" registration day.
Parents waited for hours, some since Tuesday afternoon, to secure the open access spots for their children. Eighty-five children were registered by parents in line, while 50 children were put on the school's waiting list.
When interviewed outside, parents told CBC Toronto that it's the best school in the area. They say it has a good reputation, good teachers and a good program.
School has 'good reputation'
Raj Walia, a parent who was first in the long line, said he had waited since 12 noon on Tuesday.
"Kids are telling me they have the best program, the best school facility. They like the teachers. They have a good reputation on the market," he said.
Ruby Dhaliwal, another parent in line, agreed.
"It's well organized. I like it because of the uniform. Parents are willing to wait if they can get their kid into a good school," she said.
Many brought folding chairs and blankets to make the wait more comfortable at the school, 10 Castle Oaks Crossing, near Castlemore Road and The Gore Road.
Bruce Campbell, general manager of communications and community relations for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, said word of mouth has added to the school's reputation, but it is also located in a "high growth" area.
"It's about supply and demand," he said.
Given that parents had to endure extreme cold, Campbell said the board will look at ways to prevent such lineups, including adopting an online registration system or a random selection process.
Despite the cold and wind, the parents were in good spirits, he said.
"It was so cold out there," he said. "It was pretty orderly. There was a real sense of community."
'It's what we do for our kids'
Raj Basra, who was trying to secure a spot for her son, said her father-in-law started waiting at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. She and he took turns waiting in the "very cold" weather.
"It's a good school. And we want to give my son the best chance that we can," she said. "It's what we do for our kids."
At 6:30 a.m., there were 120 parents outside the school, which is part of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.
Robin Nayyar, who wanted to register his daughter, said "nobody deserves to be out in the cold all night like that" but his daughter really wanted to get in so he waited.
"Hopefully, we will make it," he said.
Parents who waited in line were given a letter by the school that explains registration options.
"On the open access registration day, students living within the school boundary are registered based on the number of spaces identified as being available," it reads.