VANCOUVER -- A huge turnout of visitors at Golden Ears Park forced officials to start turning vehicles away well before noon on Victoria Day.

The operations manager for the park told CTV News there were 40 cars lined up before Golden Ears even opened for the holiday Monday.

Provincial park officials had previously determined only about 700 vehicles should be in Golden Ears at any time to prevent overcrowding and ensure visitors can keep physically distanced from one another. That represents about half of the park's usual capacity.

Staff said that number was reached by around 9:30 a.m., which led to hours-long waits to get into the park.

Two dads who brought their sons to Golden Ears told CTV News they ended up parking way back and walking to the lake, a journey they said took five hours and left their children exhausted.

"These poor little guys. I don't know how they did it, but they did it," one father said. "I gotta buy them Pokemon cards now."

Roughly 1,600 vehicles had come through the main gate by about 12:30 p.m., according to the operations manager.