Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Orr played junior hockey for the Swift Current Broncos, Kamloops Blazers and Regina Pats in Western Hockey League (WHL). Orr went undrafted and signed as a free agent with the Boston Bruins. He played his first NHL game against the Washington Capitals, the only game he played in the 2003–04 season. He played most of the 2003–04 season, as well as the following, lockout-cancelled 2004–05 season with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League (AHL), playing 125 games, scoring 12 points and recording 536 penalty minutes.
Orr played as regular early in the 2005–06 season with the Bruins, but was shortly waived, where on November 29, 2005, the New York Rangers claimed him off waivers. He scored his first NHL point in 15 games with the Rangers, as well as dressing for one Stanley Cup playoff game against the New Jersey Devils.
Orr saw his playing time increase over three consecutive seasons in New York, dressing in 53 games in 2006–07, 74 games in 2007–08 and a full 82-game season in 2008–09. On December 31, 2006, Orr was suspended for five games by the NHL for a cross check to the face of Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin in the third period of a December 30 game at Madison Square Garden. Ovechkin was uninjured, but NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell termed Orr's infraction "reckless." Later in the season, Orr scored his first NHL goal in a February 9, 2007, game against the Tampa Bay Lightning's Johan Holmqvist, adding four more goals with the Rangers along with 478 penalty minutes in his stint in New York.
On July 1, 2009, Orr signed a four-year, $4 million contract as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Orr would finish the season with career highs in penalty minutes (239) whilst adding four goals and six points.
His next year with the Maple Leafs was cut short after suffering a concussion in a fight with Anaheim Ducks' enforcer George Parros. Orr was out for the year and finished the season with 46 games, two goals and 128 penalty minutes.
Orr was declared ready to play at the start of the 2011–12 season, but saw a dramatically-reduced role with Toronto, playing only five games, scoring one goal and getting into one fight. On January 4, 2012, Orr was placed on waivers by the Maple Leafs, with only one-and-a-half years remaining on his contract. He was assigned to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL the next day. Orr played 26 games with the Marlies, scoring one goal and adding 46 penalty minutes.
Orr played in 44 of 48 games in the lockout-shortened 2012–13 season with Toronto, scoring one goal and adding three assists while leading the NHL in penalty minutes, with 155. He also played in all seven of the Maple Leafs' 2013 playoff games against his former team, the Boston Bruins.
On June 13, 2013, the Maple Leafs re-signed Orr to a two-year contract extension worth $1.85 million. On October 1, 2013, while playing for Toronto in their home opener against the Montreal Canadiens, Orr engaged once again with George Parros (who had been traded from the Ducks to the Canadiens during the off-season) in the third period. Parros lost his balance and fell headfirst to the ice, where he was subsequently taken off on a stretcher and later diagnosed with a concussion.
Orr failed to make the Maple Leafs' roster out of training camp for the 2014–15 season and was assigned to the Toronto Marlies after clearing waivers. However, he was called up on April 9, 2015, to play in the last game of the season on April 11, as appreciation for his services.
On October 3, 2015, Orr signed a contract to play in the American Hockey League for the Stockton Heat, the farm team for the Calgary Flames. Over the duration of the 2015–16 season, Orr played in just 10 regular season games. With the diminishing role of enforcers, at seasons end, Orr announced his retirement from professional hockey on April 28, 2016.
Orr has been married to wife Sabrina (née Gecaj) since 2009 and has a daughter named Charlotte. Orr is not related to Bobby Orr, though the Hall of Famer has served as his agent.
During the 2001 Canada Games Colton Orr represented Manitoba as a soccer goalkeeper.2008 Victoria Cup as a member of the New York Rangers.
Won The Hockey News's Bob Probert Award for Best Fighter as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013.
Led NHL in penalty minutes in 2013.