The name Triton appeared in early records as Troytown, Traytown, Treaton and Tory Town and owes its origin to English West Country usage of “Troytown” to refer to a maze either because of the complexity of Great Triton Harbour or because of the difficulty of navigating through off-lying islands to enter Little Triton Harbour.
Little Triton Harbour (or Triton East) was the earliest area of settlement, in the 1830’s or 1840’s. Little Triton Harbour and Big Triton Island were earlier used as seasonal fishing stations by fishermen from Twillingate. The first time Triton appears in the Census was in 1845, with a population of 17. There was a few families living southeast of the harbour but these families eventually moved to Triton.
In 1857 there was 54 people at Triton, but gradually increased to 102 by 1884. Tradition says that some of the early settlers had winter houses and gardens at Great Triton Harbour and that by the 1880’s Great Triton was settled all year round. The south side of Triton Island has also been settled at Jim’s Cove and Card’s Harbour. Tradition says that these coves were settled by families who had been fishing the grounds around Badger Bay and Seal Bay. In 1891 the population of Triton was recorded at 179 which included all of Triton Island.
The first Methodist school/chapel was built between Great and Little Triton in about 1887, and the first Salvation Army citadel was build in 1896. By 1901 the majority of people were Salvation Army and Triton had continued to be mostly Salvation Army.
In the earliest days of settlement ties were strong with Twillingate, where fishermen traded cod. In the 1890’s the first stores were kept by families at Little Triton as agents of merchants at Little Bay Islands. A business was established at Great Triton which supplied many fishermen in the area and became involved in supplying schooners for the Labrador fishery. With a strong inshore fishery, a growing involvement in the fishery in Labrador and winter logging for lumber and pulp and paper industries, the population of Triton grew considerably to 470 in 1935 and 625 in 1951. Triton East and West incorporated in 1955 and Jim’s Cove and Card’s Harbour incorporated in 1958. In 1961 the two municipalities amalgamated as a rural district.
After the causeway was built in 1968, linking the island to Pilley’s Island and the mainland, the community continued to grow. Because of the increasing dependency on the road it was the end for Little Triton, which was declining in population. Since it was not on the road it was soon abandoned. In 1980 a new fish plant, Triton Seafood’s, was opened at Little Triton Harbour, and a road was built to it. In the same year the rural district was re-incorporated as the town of Triton.