Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

My Town

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

UBC alum Brian Patterson diving among a school of horse-eye jacks on Grand Cayman’s North Wall. Photos courtesy of Brian except where noted.

Brian Patterson (LLB/JD’95) serves as Senior Corporate Counsel for a global law firm with offices in 80+ countries. He has lived in Grand Cayman for the past three years, and has been a repeat resident since 1999.

What three words best describe the Cayman Islands?

Sunny, civilized, serene.

How did you come to live in Grand Cayman?

I was born and raised in Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory like the Cayman Islands, and the legal landscape is very similar in both places. My Bermuda law firm sent me to Grand Cayman in 1999 to investigate a merger with a Cayman law firm, and I have been coming back to work and play ever since. The Cayman Islands comprise three islands, with Grand Cayman being the largest and most populous at 76 square miles and 65,000 people, i.e. a little larger than a full house at BC Place! The sister islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are very quiet and traditional.

What do you like most about living there?

The scuba diving is amazing! Steep wall dives, great shore dives, and regular encounters with eagle rays and reef sharks make for world-class diving. Great visibility, year-round water temperatures over 26C, and hundreds of dive sites mean you can dive every weekend and not get bored!

Grand Cayman offers world-class diving year round. Click on each image to learn more.

Describe your favourite neighbourhood.

Camana Bay is easily my favourite area. It is a purpose-built residential, retail, and office waterfront town that is a hub for all activities. You can go to the gym, have dinner, go grocery or clothes shopping, catch a movie, or grab a coffee…all within easy walking distance.

If you could change one thing about Grand Cayman, what would it be?

Slow down the development of beachfront property.

What might surprise a visitor about the Cayman Islands?

The choice of world-class hotels and restaurants near local watering holes and jerk chicken stands.

What are your favourite hidden gems or activities that only locals know about?

Going for Italian gelato after dinner at Camana Bay, touring the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, driving around the islands, and having lunch at Over the Edge bar in the district of North Side.

What’s the most over-rated tourist hotspot?

Downtown George Town — the capital of the Cayman Islands — which is full of cruise ship day trippers wandering in droves among cheap souvenir shops…

How easy is it to meet new people?

Very easy. Everyone is friendly and open — at the bar, on a dive boat, on the beach.

What issues are particularly important to the people of Grand Cayman?

The island is booming, which is good for the economy, but means increased development, i.e. bigger buildings, more roads, fewer mangroves, increased housing prices, etc.

What is one local custom that every visitor should know about?

Driving on the left-hand side of the road!

On Grand Cayman, you're never far from a stunning water view. Click on each image to learn more.

Looking to connect with your UBC alumni community?

If you live outside our campus communities in the Lower Mainland and Central Okanagan, visit the Global Alumni Network page to see if there’s an alumni ambassador or social media community where you live.

Alumni volunteers also host fun My Town Meetups in locations around the world. Check out our Meetups page to see if there’s a gathering near you — or sign up to host one in your location!