I can tell you my experience - all of my friends and my uncle has always steered me towards Nikon camera's - and really it is the only reviews I really read - never considered a Canon.
I went to the store to actually purchase the Nikon D5100 (I used the D5000 for a little), and then saw the Canon EOS 60D. As soon as I picked it up I just preferred how it felt in my hands - so I purchased the Canon over the Nikon - then came home and started reading all of the reviews about it
Anyways, every recommendation I have read online about choosing Nikon or Canon is true - go and be comfotable with what you purchase.
As a noob to Canon, Nikon, and DSLR's, this has been my experience...so good luck
From what I am seeing, there is really little difference in the quality - niether one better than the other, but understanding the settings for different conditions is what makes the shot - as the old saying goes....not the tool, but the person using it....