You have sparked a religious debate, asking the Canon versus Nikon question. Both brands have their strengths. Admittedly, I do not know Canon products as well as Nikon, but they do tend to have better results at higher ISO and cheaper glass. Nikon's best known strength is its ergonomics and high end glass. Nikons support more of their older glass too, with the exception of versions that need the motor to use AF, else you're MF only. I'm unsure how Canon equipment handles resell value, but Nikon glass and accessories frequently increases over time, at least the gems do.
For me, the camera needs to be comfortable in your hands. If you feel fumbly with the camera, you're not going to take good photos. The technical specs between your two choices are very very similar. The Nikon has a slightly larger sensor and the Canon a slightly higher resolution viewing LCD. The Nikon appears to have slightly better battery life too.
Get both cameras in your hands at your local camera shop or electronics store and see which one the buttons feel better to you and go from there. Overall, as you get new cameras, the hand feel is going to be very similar within the Canon v/s Nikon families.
Oh, another consideration would be what do your friends shoot? Not because they know better than the rest of us, but if they're already used to their cameras they're going to be more help to you plus they may have more lenses to share when you go out on photo runs together.