Captain James Cook referred to it as North Point in 1784 and its name may be a corruption of this reference, or it may have been named for Neddy Norris, a trapper who lived in the area in the 1790s.
The Maritime Archaic and Paleo-Eskimo lived in the area between 4500 to 3000 years ago and 2100 to 1400 years ago respectively.
The first permanent English settler was William Humber in 1833. After 1850, the population began to grow because residents of the East Coast moved here to work the Labrador fishery and the area's potential for the herring and lobster fisheries.
The first census was taken in 1884, and it showed a population of 93, and by 1891 the population had grown to 315. During this time, several lobster factories were established here, as well as salmon being pickled and tinned. By 1935, Norris Point had grown to 525 residents, but during the 1940's the population declined and it was not until the 1950's, with the resettlement program, population began to increase again.
With the establishment of Gros Morne National Park, tourism has played an important role in the town economy. The town was incorporated in 1960.