I'm with Brandi on the reason to go for Canon's. Otherwise they're just alike.
If you want a DSLR, a Canon T3 is an excellent starter camera. I'd get just the body alone and the Canon 50mm 1.8 lens.
If you're looking for just a more advanced P&S though either a Canon Powershot (specifically the ones that look like this)
Or a Nikon. They have a new Nikon that is a mix of a point and shoot and a DSLR. You can interchange the lenses.