The community takes its name from its first settler, Norman Wilton, who moved to the area from Woody Point in 1927. The family were relied upon to provide a way station for people travelling to the logging areas. For most of its existence employment to the town has been limited to logging, to supply the local sawmills and for pulpwood.
After Gros Morne National Park was established, tourism has become an important industry to the town. The community is just south of the park boundary and the Bonne Bay Development Association has established a museum and a pioneer village there. The community also provides some tourism services.