Torrens was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Torrens lived in nearby Sherwood, a rural community, as a child, where he attended Sherwood Elementary School. He had his first stage appearance there in Grade 1. In 1983 he moved to Halifax with his family where he attended St. Patrick's High School. His sister is actress and playwright Jackie Torrens. Torrens is married and has two daughters, Sugar-Daisy and Indigo.
Torrens's past work includes co-hosting CBC Television's teen-oriented consumer affairs series Street Cents from 1989 until 1996. He then went on to host, co-produce and write for his own teen-oriented talk show, Jonovision, from 1996 until 2001.
In 1998, he played David in Beefcake, a movie about 1950s muscle magazines and their connection with the gay community. The same year, he won a Gemini in the category of Best Short Dramatic Program for his work on Nan's Taxi. In 1999, he hosted and narrated a 33-minute docudrama on the consequences of impaired driving for the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC) called When Choices Collide. In 2001 he played Tony Moressa on the show Pit Pony and had two appearances on Royal Canadian Air Farce as 'The Clean Cut Keen SportsNet Guy'. From there he went on to play Daniel VanDusen on Rideau Hall in 2002 and had a guest appearance on This Hour Has 22 Minutes. In 2003, he starred in the CBC six episode mini-series Jonathan Crosses Canada, in which he traveled across Canada in a Winnebago.
During the summer of 2004 he starred as "The Gotta-be-Gay-Guy" on the Spike TV mock reality show, Joe Schmo 2, and has made appearances on the shows The Greatest Canadian and 50 Most Outrageous TV Moments.
He also played Shane McKay, Emma Nelson's biological father on Degrassi: The Next Generation. Torrens has a recurring role as J-Roc on the television series Trailer Park Boys. He also appeared in all of the Trailer Park Boys movies. In November and December 2008 Jonathan was the guest host of several episodes of the CBC radio show Definitely Not the Opera.
In 2008, he appeared in the award-winning short film Treevenge, directed by Jason Eisener.
In 2009, Torrens debuted in his own television show called TV With TV's Jonathan Torrens on Canadian specialty network TVtropolis and ended in 2011. As of 2010, Torrens is one of the co-hosts of the reality television series Wipeout Canada, which also airs on TVtropolis that ended after 13 episodes.
On March 21, 2013, it was confirmed on Facebook that Torrens had gained forty pounds to reprise his role as J-Roc in the third Trailer Park Boys film entitled Don't Legalize It. Torrens appeared in Season 8 of Trailer Park Boys, which debuted on Netflix on September 5, 2014. He also was a co-writer for Seasons 9 and 10 of Trailer Park Boys. Torrens left the cast of Trailer Park Boys in April, 2016.
He has also had regular roles in the television series Mr. D, Call Me Fitz and Game On.