I actually just had a conversation with another photographer a couple of days ago about Canon sensors trailing Nikons. He made the point that (coming from a film background), he felt that the Canon sensors (specifically talking about the 5Dc, 5d3) that he felt they gave a more film like quality in terms of colors and representation as opposed to Nikon (really Sony) sensors which was much more flat. He also made the point that certain things which may contribute to that look is baked into the chip & low level functionality such as the ADC's, initial hardware/software readouts, etc which would be potentially difficult to duplicate through post processing.
Just an interesting observation from someone else. I, personally, haven't looked at enough Nikon vs Canon photos in detail to see a difference, and I'm not coming from a film background.