Okanagan Falls (pop. 2,500) is named for the twin falls that once existed where Skaha Lake empties into the Okanagan River, before they vanished in the early 1950s. The area was once a major meeting and trading centre for the local aboriginal people. In 1876, the Okanagan Falls area was established because of its strategic location for shipping and freight along both water and the Kettle Valley railway. Later it was recognized as a prime location for ranching and fruit growing. The first commercial orchard was planted in 1886 — with orchards developing as irrigation became available. The main water source for irrigation in the beginning was the dams in the high country east of town. Okanagan Falls is now home to over 32 individual vineyards as well as other fruit orchards.